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A DeLury Sampler: Notes From Underground


One thing no one has ever accused John DeLury of is not being outspoken. Here are a few choice remarks from a two and a half hour seminar.

On relations with the city: "We've been prostituted by city hall for political ends. There is no compassion or understanding from city hall. The city never takes on a fight for the worker."

On changing attitudes: "The so-called new breed is just the same as my generation. Only they have Daniel Boone hairstyles as opposed to crew cuts."

On middle management: "There are too many chains of command in the city. The borough office is where orders should come from, not from downtown. You just can't take a man out of Harvard University, Princeton or Yale, and put him in sanitation--you have to come up through the ranks."

On sanitationmen: "Even to this day, you are a second-class citizen, though I don't believe it."

On women in the union: "Women? What do I want with trouble? I have too many paternity cases already to worry about."

On New York City: "In 15 years, New York will be the greatest city in the world. It will be a different New York, with very little manufacturing, but it will be the showplace of the world for everything that manufacturers produce."

On officialdom: "Lindsay and Rockefeller drive more people out of New York than anyone by acting like little schoolboys investigating one another."

On employers: "I may rabble rouse. I may romance you. But I've got to know that the union can't operate without a healthy employer."

On unions: "Muscle is out--you gotta have knowledge today."

On the mayor: "Well, I like Lindsay. He's a charming fellow, and he comes by my house every New Year's Eve to see how I am. Just last Thursday, though, I told him he's crazy to run for President. This country has swung to the right. Wallace is a bigot and the greatest danger to this country, but he's got tremendous appeal. He appeals to the basic bigotry of the American people. I tell Lindsay he should go out a hero, withdrawing to solidify liberals behind one candidate. He can't win the Democratic nomination. In fact, nobody is going to beat Nixon."

On New York City becoming a state: "We'd starve to death, for Christ's sake. You must be joking."

On John DeLury: "I may be older than Christ, but that doesn't stop me from operating."

On modernization: "I'm telling you, you're going to be buried in the garbage we collect unless you create a proper disposal system. We can't build incinerators, the city won't build garages to house our trucks. Thirty-five per cent of our equipment is down all the time, even with 1400 new trucks, and most of that is vandalism because we have to park trucks on the street at night."

On recycling: "Too expensive. It doesn't pay for the cost it takes."

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