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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR • BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
LAWRENCE R. KLEIN, Editor-in-Chief
III The Labor Month in Review
Union Conventions, August 16 to September 15, 1959
Trends in Building Permit Activity
A new 120-page bulletin (No. 1243) presents data on building construction authorized by local building permits, in complete detail, for the years 1954–56. It also shows the trend of building construction in principal cities of the United States, beginning with 1949, as well as selected statistics for 1957-58.
Detailed tabulations are given on
Indexes of Volume
In addition, the bulletin includes a brief history of the series, describes the scope and limitations of the data, furnishes information for linking the current series with those for years prior to 1954.
Send orders (accompanied by check or money order) to the Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25, D.C.,
San Francisco 11, Calif.
Price, 65 cents a copy
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Labor Month in Review
EFFORTS TO AVERT an industrywide strike in basic steel failed as the extended deadline of July 14 came and went without agreement on a new contract between the United Steelworkers and the major producing firms. Although the long negotiations had revolved about the inflationary effects of any wage or price increase, the final public statements of the parties on the eve of the strike appeared to center on local work rules affecting production-introduction of new equipment, methods of production, productivity, and the like. The companies wanted clarifying language added to the present contract clauses relating to these matters, especially to prevent them from becoming grievances; they expressed a contingent inclination to grant some wage and benefit improvements in a 2-year agreement. A union proposal to set up a joint study commission to consider work rule changes was
was unacceptable to the industry negotiators.
Earlier, President Eisenhower had succeeded in persuading the parties to continue bargaining past the original expiration date of the old contracts. Acceptance of the extension did not prevent some wildcat strikes. The walkouts, mostly shortlived, coincided with the June 30 expiration date and reflected the union's "no contract, no work” tradition.
Late in June, the companies had suggested an indefinite continuance of the old contracts. A counterproposal by the union for a 15-day strike postponement with retroactivity to July 1 for contract improvements was rejected.
over contract terms. On June 29, two Nevada papers closed when members of the Typographical Union refused to cross picket lines of the American Newspaper Guild, which was striking for wage increases and an agency shop, among other items.
Britain was experiencing a publishing strike of truly national scope. In one strike of 10 unions, about 200,000 workers walked out in mid-June to enforce demands for higher wages and a shorter workweek. Another strike against ink-manufacturing firms late in June helped to compound a situation in which 6,000 printing plants were closed, 1,000 local newspapers and most of the country's magazines suspended publication, and such items as railroad timetables, checks, and labels were in short supply.
Argentina witnessed a prolonged and rather violent strike of bank employees. Beginning on April 16, the dispute (which involved both government-owned and private banks) lasted until June 20. A wage increase of about $8 a month, the amount the Government had delimited at the outset, ended the strike. Bank employee walkouts in other Latin American countries have taken place in recent months.
Even rarer than newspaper or bank strikes are hospital walkouts. New York City experienced a strike against 7 of its 81 nonprofit, voluntary hospitals. It was settled June 22 after 45 days. Strikers were chiefly maintenance and household workers. Recognition of the union (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union)-the main issue—was not granted. Nonprofit hospitals are not legally required to bargain with or recognize unions. However, the Greater New York Hospital Association agreed to a “declaration of policy" (drafted as a result of the mediation of a mayor's committee) which permits employees to elect a representative to a grievance board, a step the union termed "back door" recognition. The institutions had already unilaterally granted wage increases and other improvements to working conditions. However, the policy declaration restated these changes.
A group of 37 proprietary hospitals in the same area signed a full 3-year contract with a local of the Building Service Employees International Union on behalf of nonprofessional employees of the institutions. The terms included wage increases and fringe benefits. No strike took place.
NEWSPAPER STRIKES—once a rarity–have recently been more frequent. During June, five papers were closed by strikes, of which three-conducted by the International Typographical Union-were settled in the same month. The Post Dispatch and the Globe Democrat, both in St. Louis, resumed publication after 15 days following a compromise agreement on work methods. In Kansas City, the Star was closed for 10 days in a dispute