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Social Unionism in Action

Mobile health units at work, circa 1950.

ILGWU Archives (5780pb40f17bp), Kheel Center, Cornell University.

Mobile health units fulfill a function not otherwise accessible to workers. They have placed a priority on preventive care and provide both diagnoses and prescriptions, and have become a model for health care, particularly in the South.

Above, ILGWU members are shown standing in line, awaiting their turns for medical care. Below, a doctor is shown inoculating a member’s child against polio.

ILGWU Archives (5780pb40f17bp), Kheel Center, Cornell University.

When Health Center Director Dr. Richard Heilman began to stamp the union’s logo on children’s vitamins, it led to parents developing the expression that their children were “swallowing the union.”