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Appeal for aid for cafeteria strikers: 1948 | by Washington Area Spark
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Appeal for aid for cafeteria strikers: 1948

An advertisement published in the Washington Post January 10, 1948 appeals for financial assistance for the United Cafeteria and Restaurant Workers Union Local 471 strike against Government Services, Inc. (GSI).


GSI refused to meet, negotiate or enter a contract with the union unless local officials and the parent UPWA union signed non-communist affidavits. In addition, GSI insisted the union win a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election even though they had entered into contracts with the union for the past 10 years.


The union was initially recognized in a preference ballot conducted by the NLRB in 1938 after GSI took the position then that as a quasi-government agency they were not covered by the NLRB.


The federal government eventually intervened in the long strike after a campaign to put pressure on President Harry S. Truman by the union.


The Truman administration insisted local officials sign the affidavits before they would help, although the parent UPWA officials never did. Eventually the government threatened to terminate the GSI contract in order to force a settlement of the 78-day strike.


The largest African American union in the city at about 4,000 members was preserved and continued as a progressive union. It provided ground troops in 1950-53 for pickets, sit-ins and boycotts of public facilities in the District that practiced Jim Crow, resulting in complete victory over segregation of public facilities in 1953.


For more information and related images, see


For a detailed account of the strike and its implications, see


The image was published in the Washington Post January 10, 1948.

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Taken on January 10, 1948