LABOR: Peacetime Battle

In Port Arthur, Tex., pickets strode before a Texas Co. refinery carrying signs: "52 for 40 or Fight. This is a Walkout." The slogan meant that C.I.O. oil workers wanted 52 hours' pay for 40 hours' work. The drive was on for labor's first postwar objective: wartime wages at peacetime hours.

Strikes like Port Arthur's hit oil plants in seven states through the South and Midwest. By week's end 27,000 workers were out. Toledo went on self-imposed gasoline rationing, other communities considered similar steps; millions of gallons of gasoline and fuel oil for...

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