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Phillip Fleming, key figure in 1948 cafeteria strike: 1936 | by Washington Area Spark
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Phillip Fleming, key figure in 1948 cafeteria strike: 1936

Lt. Col. Phillip Fleming, a key figure in the 1948 cafeteria workers strike as head of the Federal Works Administration, is shown in a 1936 photograph.


Fleming was effectively the landlord that oversaw the contract to provide cafeteria services in most federal buildings by Government Services Inc. in the late 1940s.


Cafeteria workers went on strike in January 1948 after GSI refused to negotiate an agreement. The workers charged GSI with union busting while GSI charged the union with being communist-dominated.


The union initially laid charges against Fleming that he was siding with GSI. Late in the strike under pressure from U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Fleming threatened to terminate the contract with GSI unless they settled with the union.


The strike was settled days later and the union was preserved, although the officers had to sign non-communist affidavits in order to reach an agreement.


For more information and related images, see


For a deep dive into the 1948 cafeteria workers strike, see


The photographer is unknown. The image is a Harris and Ewing photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress, reproduction number LC-DIG-hec-33937 (digital file from original negative)

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Taken on October 8, 1936