U.S. At War: Pickled Packers

"Lay off the booze. If anybody makes any trouble, I'm going to knock the hell out of him. And if you think I can't do it, I'll start right now."

Small, scrappy Milton A. Kottinger was talking tough because he was in a tough spot. His California Conserving Co. had big Army orders, but tomatoes were rotting in his cannery for lack of packers.

Kottinger went to San Francisco Municipal Judge George B. Harris. Together they worked out a plan whereby men sentenced for minor offenses, usually involving alcohol, were paroled to Kottinger for work in field or cannery at standard pay—in somewhat...

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