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Abstract

[Excerpt] It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. I looked again at the phone messages in front of me. Negotiations were to begin the following week, and copies of contract proposals covered my desk.

I looked at the walls for relief. There was a picket sign from the 1987 Red Cross nurses strike, a photo of a hundred women from the AFL-CIO Summer Institute, and a poster of a young woman, fist in the air, tearing the boards off a vacant house where our community group had moved in a homeless family. Just yesterday I had taped up a snapshot of health care workers from Los Angeles area unions jointly picketing a hospital.

These are some of the pictures I value from my work as a labor representative and organizer. Yet here I sat, feeling like the worst of bureaucrats, trying to figure out how to avoid some of the very people I represent.

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