Labor: Nothing But Trouble

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, a dwindling union that takes in annual dues totaling $612,000, was bringing on troubles it could ill afford. Its outlaw strike against eight U.S. railroads elicited a contempt citation from U.S. District Judge Alexander Holtzoff in Washington, who ordered the brotherhood to meet a return-to-work deadline or be fined $25,000 a day. Only after the four-day walkout ground to a halt last week did the full magnitude of the railway union's troubles come into focus.

As a starter, it appeared that the brotherhood had missed the deadline by several hours; so the railroads...