Series 1, Subseries 1, Sub-subseries 9. Ted Mitchell interviews, 1975-1976.


Series 1, Subseries 1, Sub-subseries 9. Ted Mitchell interviews, 1975-1976.

Interviews with Ted Mitchell (vice president, emeritus) include discussions of Mitchell's personal background, the history of 1199, organizing campaigns in the Drug and Hospital Divisions, characteristics of 1199 members, the nature of hospitals and the health care industry, and working conditions in hospitals. Topics discussed include the strategy employed in organizing drugstore porters and clerks; the racial composition of drug clerks; strikes in drugstores; the assignment of Mitchell and Elliott Godoff as Hospital Division organizers; the unionization of voluntary hospitals; the growth of the hospital union (1959-1962); 1199's policy of organizing black, Puerto Rican, and unskilled workers; a comparison of A.F. of L. and CIO policies on organizing minority and unskilled workers; Drug Division manpower and financial support for hospital unionization; the Harlem Drug Store Strike (1949); red-baiting of union leaders; jurisdictional disputes between 1199 and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 144; and the political affiliations and viewpoints of 1199 leaders. Mitchell also discusses his role as 1199's first black organizer and leader; racial discrimination in drugstores; postwar wages of pharmacists; Godoff's leadership and organizing strategy, his personality and knowledge of hospitals; participation of Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), District 65 members Armando Ramirez, Joella Thomas, Aberdeen David, and Bob Burke in hospital unionization; Thelma Bowles' activities as an 1199 organizer; Harry Van Arsdale's strategy for organizing unskilled workers in New York City and his role in the Central Labor Council's support for hospital unionization; Leon Davis' and Van Arsdale's relationship; the building trades unions' support for hospital unionization; George Meany's support for the Charleston, S.C. Hospital Workers' Strike; the reaction of black pharmacists to Mitchell's assignment to the Hospital Division; the leadership roles of Jesse Olson, Davis, Godoff, Doris Turner, and Mitchell; union leadership training; black workers' support of left-wing politics; unionization of New York City red cap pullman porters; blacks and wartime work; and AFL-CIO opposition to collective bargaining legislation regarding compulsory arbitration and no-strike pledges. Additional issues addressed include working conditions in hospitals; wages; split shifts; hours of work; discrimination against workers for union activity; the reaction of voluntary hospitals to the Montefiore settlement; hospital supervisors' and administrators' opposition to unionization; 1199 contacts with Montefiore laboratory technicians, and workers' support for unionization; white collar workers and workers' consciousness; white collar workers and professional unions; Adam Clayton Powell's support of 1199, and the participation of his congregation and the NAACP Labor Committee in the Mount Sinai organizing campaign; and organizing activities of the Montefiore staff. Also discussed is the role of Hispanic workers; unionization without protected collective bargaining rights; the conduct of pickets; the racial and religious aspects of the hospital organizing campaign (1959); the participation of Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Mike Quill, Governor Rockefeller, Herman Badillo, Jose Monserrat, Mayors Wagner and Lindsay, Harold Felix, Malcolm X, Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young, A. Philip Randolph, and Bayard Rustin in hospital unionization; work stoppages; strike funds; and financial contributions and food donations by community members, religious organizations, and grocery stores. Other topics include the election of delegates and their role in workers' education and union administration; the establishment of grievance procedures; the establishment of organizing committees by hospital departments; the objection of nurses, clerical workers, and other professionals to 1199's image as a union of non-professional minority workers; the organizing of hospital workers outside of New York City; jurisdictional disputes between various unions organizing hospitals; the support of various New York City labor unions for hospital unionization; the rationale for the 1959 strike at Lenox Hill Hospital; workers' and management's attitudes towards union delegates; the administration of the union, dues collection and grievance handling under the Permanent Administrative Committee (PAC); the organizing of Catholic hospitals; and court fines and injunctions imposed against 1199 during hospital strikes.

2 transcripts (66 p.)


SNAC Resource ID: 7918993

Cornell University Library

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