Meat Cutters Strike Betrayed 1973
Striking meatcutters in Front of Giant Food at 1751 Columbia Road NW in Washington, DC.

Members of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Local 593 went on strike against Washington, D.C. area Giant Food stores October 23, 1973 after contract negotiations broke down. Their contract had expired in September.

The grocery chains retaliated by locking out union meatcutters at five other chains (Safeway, Grand Union, A&P, Acme and Pantry Pride (Food Fair).

Most rank and file members of the Retail Clerks union and the Teamsters refused to cross picket lines. The local unions of the clerks and teamsters then voted to honor the picket lines.

In a betrayal that would reverberate in the years to come, the International office of the Retail Clerks and the Teamsters refused to give permission to honor the Meatcutters picket lines despite the vote by the locals. Teamsters International President Frank Fitzsimmons stated he would not support any AFL-CIO union as long as the AFL-CIO supported the Farmworkers boycott.

In the face of this lack of support, the Meat Cutters voted 695-475 to support a contract that few would have favored before the strike.

The Meat Cutters have since merged with the Retail Clerks to form the United Food & Commericial Workers Union. The Giant Food on Columbia Road has been closed and the chain is now operated by Royal Ahold.

This set of images was scanned from original negatives. Non-commerical use of photos on this site should be credited to Reading/Simpson unless otherwise noted. Commercial use of these items is prohibited without express permission.
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