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August 02, 1974 - Image 3

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-08-02

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Friday, August 2, 1974

THE MICHKGAN DAILY

Page Three

Phone workers to walk out

WASHINGTON (A - The top union
leader in nationwide telephone negotia-
tions said yesterday that "it appears
that a strike is inevitable" by some
750,000 Bell system workers across the
country.
Gleno Watts, president of the Com-
munications Workers of America (CW
A), said a nationwide walkout would be-
gin at 12:01 a.m. EDT Monday "in the
absence of a satisfactory agreement"
WATTS SAID the Bell system could
still come up with an offer that might
avert a strike, but "the hard fact at this
time is that the union and the compa-
nies remain very far apart."
Although-most of the nation's telephone
system is automated, Watts said a strike
would affect service increasingly as
equipment broke down. The initial effect,
he said, would be slowness in getting a
dial tone and long delays in having new
phones installed.
"We'll do our best to keep service up
but realistically, there's going to be
sonie effects," said Hell spokesman
('harles Dynes.
DYNES SAID negotiations would con-
tinue throughout the weekend and added
that the company was hopeful of an
agreement before the strike deadline.
Most telephone contracts already have
expired.
At a news conference, Watts said the
union membership voted overwhelmingly
in favor of a strike. The vote was 225,-
560 to 33,326.
LEADERS OF the International Broth-
erhood of Electrical Workers and the
Alliance of Independent Telephone Union
said their 250,000 members also voted
heavily in favor of a strike and would
walk out with the CWA's 51,000 mem-
bers.
Watts predicted a long strike if it
comces-
"We want a contract that will be fair
and equitable under present circum-
stances," he said.
WITH TODAY'S rapid inflation, he
said, a 14 per cent pay raise would be
necessary to keep pace with the cost of
living and productivity.
Also standing in the way of a settle-
ment, Watts said, is the company's re-
fusal to grant a full agency shop, dis-
agreement over improvements in pen-
sions and health insurance and "hun-
dreds of local items still to be resolved."
Union leaders on July 18 rejected a
company offer of a three-year contract
which Watts said would have provided
a 9.43 per cent wage hike the first year
and increases tof 2.7 per cent in the sec-
ond and third years, plus raises tied to.
increases in the cost of living. The com-
pany estimated the offer at between 6.5
and 10 per cent the first year and 3.3 per
cent in each of the next two years.
TELEPHONE workers currently av
erage $170 a week with skilled crafts-
men making up to $260 weekly, said
Watts.
Following the announcement of a
strike by Watts, there was no imme-
diate response from American Telephone
and Telegraph management represen-
tatives.

However, high-level management
sources indicated that a new, somewhat
increased contract offer would be forth-
coming well before the Monday strike
deadline.
MOST CONTRACTS between the Bell
System companies and the C'WA, the In-
ternational Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers and about two dozen unaffiliat-
ed unions expired on. July 15.
"We intend to keep the heat on be-
tween now and midnight Sunday in
hopes of getting an agreement," Watts
added but still emphasized the strong
possibility of a walk-out.
Local telephone
employes uset,
By BARBARA CORNELL
Local telephone company employet
appear to be full of anticipation and
excitement over the impending telephone
strike, which is scheduled to start Mon-
day morning.
President of the telephone workers
local 4011 Fred Chase says the Ann
Arbor area company employs some 250
operators alone, and walking oit with
them will be repair workers.
IN THE EVENT of extensive tele-
phone line daisage, as in the case of a
storm, the management would be unable
to repair the lines and telephone com-
munication could be knocked out.
One local operator says she is willing
to strike "as long as it takes" to reach
a satisfactory agreement, but adds, "we
don't expect to be out much longer than
a couple of weeks."
She claims to have experienced "con-
siderable management pressure" but
that it has abated somewhat with the
actual threat of a strike.
HER PRIMARY grievance is that lo-
cal operators are offered no sick time,
a problem she says must be remedied
before she will find any contract rea-
sonable.
"It doesn't seeum like they wat to
bargain at all," she said ofthe local
management, "and they keep telling us
they have no money.
"With our company saying they're
broke and then telling the public they
have billions, they must be lying to
s o t e o n e," she remarked somewhat
sardonically.
IN THE EVENT of a strike, any non-
direct long distance dialing will be cut
off, as well as directory assistance,
phone repair, and new phone installa-
tion.

Dailv Photo by STEVE KAGAN
STRIKING ARGUS OPTICS workers and members of a support group picket
in front of the Ann Arbor News building yesterday. They were demonstrating
against the allegedly anti-strike posture taken by the paper. The protest con-
tinued at City Hail later in the afternoon.
Striking Argus employes,
supporters stage protest

By STEPHEN HERSH
Striking employes of the Argus Optics
plant, joined by a student support group
and members of the Human Rights
Party, picketed yesterday in front of
the Ann Arbor News building and City
Hall.
The group of approximately 25 dem-
onstrators began marching at the News
building at noon, and remained there for
a half hour, carrying signs emblazoned
with slogans such as "No more ads for
scabs" and chanting "no more scabs
for Argus."
THE PROTESTERS complained that
their strike activities have not been given
sufficient coverage by the News, and
that the newspaper has run an advertise-
ment soliciting replacement workers for
striking Argus employes.
City Attorney Edwin Pear said the ad-
vertisement marginally complied with
a local law requiring companies seeking
replacement employes for strikers to
clearly indicate they are involved in a
labor dispute.
At 12:30 the demonstrators walked to
City Hall, where they marched for a half
hour chanting "End police harassment,
support Argus workers".
PICKETING by strikers and their sup-
porters continues at the State Road Ar-
gus factory,
The seven-week-old strike is aimed at
forcing the company to recognize the
United Auto Workers (UAW) as a bar-
gaining agent for its employes. The Ar-
gus plant specializes in lens grinding,
polishing and blocking,

A year ago last April, plant employes
voted to accept the UAW as their repre-
sentative. Argus claimed that the elec-
tion was unfair, refused to recognize the
union, and brought this claim to the Na-
tional Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The NLRB ruled against the Argus
management.
See STRIKING, Page 101

Esch still quiet on vote

By JEFF DAY
special To The naily
WASHINGTON - U.S. Representative
Marvin Esch (R-Ann Arbor) said yes-
terday he is still considering the evi-
dence for and against impeachment, but
promised to announce a final decision
before the matter comes to the House
floor.
"I've been in the process of meeting
with members of the Judiciary Commit-
tee and the House, going through the
whole thing. I'm in the process of try-
ing to make up my mind," the moderate
Republican said.
ALTHOUGH he steadfastly declined to
commit himself, Esch spoke up in de-
fense of the committee which has come
under strong White House criticism for
its approval of three articles of impeach-
ment against President Nixon,
"They b r o u g h t credibility to the

House," he said. "They attempted to be
objective, irrespective of party mem-
bership."
Up to this point, Esch has refrained
from any comment on impeachment,
maintaining it would be "irresponsible"
to judge the matter before the committee
issues its report.
BUT YESTERDAY he indicated his
vote would not be a party line vote,
leaving open the possibility that he may
vote for impeachment.
"More and more what the judiciary
committee did was helpful from the
standpoint of issues," he said. "Most of
the members of the House are going to
judge it on that basis-Republicans too."
Esch was also critical of White House
efforts to discredit the Judiciary Com-
mittee warning they a e r v e d no good
purpose.

Esch

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