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Blacks, Unions, & Organizing in the South, 1956-1996

A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY

Compiled by Rudolph Lewis

 

 

 Local 1199 Union Leaflet

 

A NEW DAY

 Baltimore Hospital Workers

are looking towards a new day -- a day without poverty –

a day which will bring them

decent wages, good working conditions,

job security

and, above all,

respect and dignity.

The National Organizing Committee

of Hospital and Nursing Home Employees

is building a union for

Baltimore Hospital Workers

which will bring them

freedom, dignity, and respect.

All Hospital Workers

are invited to a special meeting to launch

 this great organizing drive:

 Date: Thursday, February 27, 1969 Time: 7:00 P.M.

 Place: National Organizing Committee / 305 W. Monument Street / Baltimore, Maryland

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1199 IN BALTIMORE

Monthly Round-Up Report

January 1969

 

Asst Regional Director's Analysis of Activities in Region 4:

 

Representatives of the National Organizing Committee of Hospital and Nursing Home Employees, affiliated with Local 1199, Wholesale, Retail and Department Store Union based in New York have established headquarters in Baltimore to organize all Maryland Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes.

I arranged a meeting with these representatives and President Fornaro of the Baltimore Council of AFL-CIO and Retail Clerks and AFSCME to forestall any jusridictional dispute that might occur due to this new group's organizing activities in the Region.

The National Organizing Committee will be quartered in our building and we will keep in close touch with their activities in the organizing field.

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Monthly Organizing Report

August 1969

August 22. Lutheran Hospital. Baltimore, Maryland. Hospital & Nursing Home Employees, Local 1199. For the Union, 174; Against, 99; Challenged, 14. Election run by Maryland Dept. of Labor & Industry. Total eligible, 301. Worker contracts and meetings. Regional Participation: Advice & Counsel part-time.

August 28 and 29. Johns Hopkins Hospital. Baltimore, Maryland. Hospital & Nursing Home Employees, Local 1199. For the Union, 807; Against, 460; Challenged, 59; Void, 1. Election run by Maryland Dept. of Labor and Industry. Eligible, 1,455.  Regional participation: Part-time worker contacts; spoke at meetings; advice and counsel.

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DOCTOR BACK UNION'S DRIVE AT HOSPITALS

Liberal Unit Supports Employees' Right To Organize

by Frederick P. McGehan

 

      A liberal group of doctors, nurses and medical students gave its endorsement yesterday to a drive by a labor union to organize workers in certain Baltimore hospitals.

      Yesterday's statement by the Medical Committee for Human rights represents the first measure of support for the union from an organized segment of the city's medical profession.

      "We support the right of the union to organize hospital employees," said Dr. Thomas C. Washburn, co-chairman of the committee, which has more than 200 members.

      "We feel this is a basic civil liberty regardless of the fact that the hospital is a non-profit institution," Dr. Washburn continued.

      Although the group gave unqualified endorsement for the union's fight to organize, it did not give full support to some of the union's demands, which include $100-a-week starting minimum wages.

      "This support of the union implies support for the union in its future negotiations with the hospitals but does not commit us to support the specific demands of the union," Dr. Wasserman concluded.

      Dr. Washburn is associate medical director of the Sinai-Druid Health Clinic and is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Medical School.

      About 1,460 non-professional workers at the Johns Hopkins Hospital will be eligible to vote Thursday and Friday on whether they want to be represented by Local 1199E of the Hospital and Nursing Home Employees Union (AFL-CIO).

      In an election last Friday the union won the right to represent non-professional employees at Lutheran Hospital. A third representation election will be held September 5 at North Charles General Hospital.

      Dr. Washburn estimated that between 50 and 65 of his organization's members are associated with the Hopkins medical institutions.

      The medical committee's statement came on the eve of an expected visit by Mrs. Coretta Scott King to urge the Hopkins workers to vote for the union.

      Mrs. King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, the slain civil rights leader, is expected to hold a press conference at 12:30 P.M. today and then to greet workers at the hospital's Monument Street entrance from 2:30 P.M. to 3:45 P.M.

      She is honorary chairman of the union's national organizing committee and participated in a recent 114-day strike against two hospitals in Charleston, S.C.

      Dr. Washburn admitted that his group's statement is "not as strong as the union would want" and said this is primarily because the committee's membership is a "mixed bag," with some members holding stronger views than others.

      The Medical Committee on Human rights is a national organization of liberal medical professionals, which was formed several years ago by doctors working on civil rights campaigns in the South.

      The Baltimore chapter has been active in criticizing the state Medicaid program, is supporting the Man Alive methadone-maintenance program, and in providing a "medical presence" at various peace demonstrations, including the protests at the trial of the Catonsville Nine.

      There was relatively little union activity at the Hopkins hospital yesterday. Union organizers passed out flyers stressing the victory at Lutheran Hospital; management supporters handed out copies of sheets listing the wages and benefits given by the hospital.

      One young intern, dressed in white with a stethoscope hanging around his neck, slowly shook his head as he read a management poster at the Monument Street entrance.

      It urged workers to vote "for no dues, for no strikes, for no union rules . . . Vote no union."

      The young man, who identified himself as a spring graduate of the medical school, commented: "Whether you're for or against the union, I think there could have been a more mature approach [to winning the employees' loyalties]"

      Daryl B. Matthews, a second-year medical student and an active supporter of the union, lamented the fact that few of his fellow students have given their overt support. "I couldn't get any support from students," he said.

      Mr. Matthews also pointed out that few of the white maintenance workers at the Hopkins have joined the union, which is predominantly Negro. He estimated that there are 200 white workers eligible to vote.

      One white maintenance workers in a khaki uniform, encountered on an elevator, dismissed the union as having "too many racial overtones."

                "If they get in," he added, "we'll have to get a trade union in here.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Racism Held Bar to Labor:

Hurts Organizing Program, Union Head Says

The Sun, Baltimore

(November 27, 1970)

 

            Racism among both white and black workers has hurt union organizing at hospitals in Baltimore, according to the head of a hospital employees local.

Fred A. Punch, president of Local 1199E, Hospital and Nursing Home Employees Union,         AFL-CIO, in reply to recent questions from a group of Johns Hopkins University students, said they could be of help in labor organizing drives.

If you really want to do something, cut off your beards, cut off your beards, cut off your [African] bushes, take off your dashikis. You've got to look like someone working people can relate to', he has told members of AWARE, a student group active in civil rights.

            But Mr. Punch, who has been successful in organizing about 7,000 non-professional employees at nine hospitals and several nursing homes the past year, said the normal problems of unionizing workers have become complicated by racist attitudes.

            Whites at many of the hospitals refuse to join the black-led union, said Mr. Punch, himself a Negro. For example, he said, the union organized about 1,500 employees, mostly black, at Johns Hopkins Hospital but some 2,500 others mostly white, refused to join.

posted 24 July 2008

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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Race, Incarceration, and American Values

By Glenn C. Loury

In this pithy discussion, renowned scholars debate the American penal system through the lens—and as a legacy—of an ugly and violent racial past. Economist Loury argues that incarceration rises even as crime rates fall because we have become increasingly punitive. According to Loury, the disproportionately black and brown prison populations are the victims of civil rights opponents who successfully moved the country's race dialogue to a seemingly race-neutral concern over crime. Loury's claims are well-supported with genuinely shocking statistics, and his argument is compelling that even if the racial argument about causes is inconclusive, the racial consequences are clear.

Three shorter essays respond: Stanford law professor Karlan examines prisoners as an inert ballast in redistricting and voting practices; French sociologist Wacquant argues that the focus on race has ignored the fact that inmates are first and foremost poor people; and Harvard philosophy professor Shelby urges citizens to break with Washington's political outlook on race. The group's respectful sparring results in an insightful look at the conflicting theories of race and incarceration, and the slim volume keeps up the pace of the argument without being overwhelming.Publishers Weekly  / Economist Glenn Loury 

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 31 March 2012

 

 

 

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