Telephones: Union Hang-Up

Cheerfully parodying an old Bell System slogan as he led 200,000 telephone workers to the picket lines two weeks ago, Communications Workers of America Boss Joseph A. Beirne allowed that "the voice with a smile will be gone for a while." And so it was—at least among the grim-faced installers, operators, linemen, repairmen and clerks out on the streets last week.

But as the nationwide telephone strike —first in 21 years—moved into its third week, it had produced little more than some annoying static in phone service. Beyond a rash of minor sabotage that damaged cables and equipment, the only...

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