Item no. 24014
New York
Occupation: Health care and hospitals
Collection: Library

Emergency room at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights, New York City during a blackout in 1965.  In the late 1950s, the workers in New York City's volunteer hospitals were among the most exploited in the labor force.  Activists from the pharmacists' union, Local 1199, led by Leon Davis, began to organize non-professional hospital workers.  In 1959, a strike against seven voluntary hospitals set the stage for a massive organizing drive.  Large numbers of poorly paid workers, the majority of them black and Puerto Rican women, joined the union, which also went on to organize professional and technical workers and became one of the largest and strongest unions in the city.

Image from Columbia University Health Sciences Library, photograph by Elizabeth Wilcox.

See this image in the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives exhibit.

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