LABOR: The Big Squeeze

It did not seem to hurt much at first—only some local twinges of discomfort and worried looks in high places. But by last week, the discomfort had become painfully general. The U.S. economy was slowly suffocating in the tight, unrelenting grip of the first simultaneous nationwide strike in coal and steel.

The nation's coal stockpile was down to 43 days' supply and dwindling steadily. That would not have been alarming if the coal was distributed properly, but it was not. A prize batch, 10 million tons, was piled in the idle steel industry's bins. The...

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