The First Cutback Crisis

Some 8,500 men & women reported to work as usual at Brewster Aeronautical Corp.'s Long Island factories—and discovered that 4,500 had been fired that day. The sudden shock of this news stirred angry questions to which all U.S. labor wanted an answer: Was this to be the pattern of cutbacks and reconversion? Where were Washington's well-laid (or at least well-trumpeted) plans for painless transition to peacetime production?

Brewster employes dramatically forced an answer. At the urging of their union (C.I.O. United Auto Workers), all but 200 of the day shift stayed at...

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