Labor: Toward Settlement

One of the longest industry-wide walkouts in U.S. history, the eight-month-old copper strike, has already drained well over $200 million from the nation's balance of payments and brought hardships resembling Depression-era days to families of 60,000 copper workers. Last week came the first big break in the dispute. Two of the four major copper companies, Kennecott Copper Corp. and Phelps Dodge Corp., reached tentative agreements with their unions. The strike-leading United Steelworkers of America went on to ratify the Phelps Dodge offer.

Subject to further union ratification, the agreements cover some 10,000...