Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Dream Come True

"It was hell, really. It was hard to hold a job before the union came." That's how Annie Henry, a certified instrument processor at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, remembers what life was like for workers at the hospital. Another worker, William Watkins, recalls in "A Dream Come True" that there were employees who'd been with the hospital for 20 years but never got a raise, simply because their supervisors didn't like them.

That changed in 1968, with the help of Coretta Scott King. Just weeks after her husband was assassinated while supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Mrs. King urged union Local 1199 to continue Dr. King's work by organizing hospital workers around the nation. According to 1199 members still working at Hopkins today and interviewed in this documentary, Mrs. King's visit changed everything, leading them to a successful organizing drive and a better relationship with their employer.

Laura Pugh, a cook with 41 years' experience, sums up the difference this way: "It is incredible to be able to sit down with [hospital] big bosses, vice presidents, presidents, no matter who it is … and talk, and get things settled."

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