Caucus Pickets Steel Talks 1977
This set contains Images of “The Steelworker” caucus picketing outside the opening of basic steel negotiations between the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) and the ten largest steel manufacturers in the U.S. Feb. 14, 1977 at the Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St. NW, Washington, DC.

The opening of the contract talks came days after the defeat of insurgent candidate Ed Sadlowski’s to retiring USWA president I. W. Abel’s handpicked candidate Lloyd McBride by a 328,000-249,000 margin.

Activists within the union, including “The Steelworker,” criticized union leadership for negotiating a “no strike” agreement in 1974 that applied even to expiring labor agreements.

While Sadlowski lost the election, local presidents rejected the agreement negotiated by McBride in 1977 by 193-99 before ultimately approving it by a narrow margin. When it came to local issue negotiations in 1977, 33 local unions voted to strike compared to two in 1974.

Basic steel industry came to a sudden collapse between 1979 and 1986, throwing tens of thousands out of work. Basic steel companies had failed to reinvest in modern production facilities throughout the 1950s and 1960s and had fallen behind German and Japanese steelmakers who dumped low-cost steel into U.S. markets.

Today the USWA is the largest industrial union in the U.S. with about 700,000 members. In recent years it has concentrated on strategic alliances to combat the effects of globalization, including alliances with unions in other countries.

Washington Area Spark/On The Move newspaper had ceased to publish at this time. These images were taken during one of the periodic attempts to revive the newspaper.

This set of images was scanned from 3 x 5 prints. Original negatives have apparently been lost. Non-commercial use of these images should be credited to Reading/Simpson. Commercial use of these items is prohibited without express permission.
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