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They recognized that SCLC had an important body of experience in organizing the communities so the basis for a cooperative effort was there. After a rather slow, plodding beginning in the fall of 1968 for several months the cooperative effort underwent severe stresses and stains due to a number of internal factors. Then Charleston provided the spark which galvanized the whole and transformed it into a positive, workable relationship.

the strike begins
On March 20, the administration at the state-owned South Carolina Medical College Hospital fired twelve workers who had been among the most active in organizing the non-professional licensed practical nurses, nurse's aides, kitchen helpers, laundry workers, maids and orderlies for union recognition. In taking this action the hospital administration was following the advice of a highly paid lawyer who specialized as a consultant to several South Carolina industries  on how to keep unions out. Paid at the rate of one hundred fifty dollars an hour, his fee for this job was reported as $17,000. 
A month before this, a section of Longshoremen employed by the State Ports Authority had tried to secure "union recognition." These waterfront workers move cargo from the docks to the warehouse as distinct from the longshoremen who unload the ships and place the cargo on the docks. The latter already are members of the international Longshoremen's Association. So, 350 dock workers struck for union recognition. The State secured a temporary injunction from Judge Singletary; then after a few days made the injunction permanent. The longshoremen went back to work; within a week a half dozen of the key strike leaders were fired--and that was it. 
The hospital administration evidently hoped to be able to repeat this pattern but it back-fired. When the twelve hospital workers were fired, some 450 others walked off their jobs and the strike was on. The demands were: 
-Union recognition
-An end to discrimination in wages and hiring practices
-The rehiring of the twelve workers who had been fired
These hospital workers constituted the five-month-old Local 1199B, with a dynamic young woman, Mary Moultrie, as its President. 
A week later more than 60 workers at the Charleston County Hospital walked off their jobs in sympathy with the workers at the Medical College Hospital and they stayed out for the duration. The union lawyers successfully contested the back-to-work injunction proceedings 


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