Labor: Tug of War

It required only 660 well-paid (from $440 to $674 per month) railroad tugboat workers, plus a blizzard, to bring complete and even desperate confusion last week to New York City and much of the U.S. Northeast. Early in the week, tugboat-union pickets marched outside Manhattan's Grand Central Station, managed to close the New York Central Railroad. A couple of days later, the New Haven Railroad was forced to shut down. At that point, more than 100,000 commuters had been forced to find new ways of getting to work—and the snowstorm made things tougher to the point of impossibility.

How—and why—could...

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