LABOR: Cement Mix-Up

In and around many a key city in the eastern U.S. last week, cement-mixers, supplying the foundation of the nation's biggest construction boom, lay silent on their jobs. The sudden silence came after strikes were called by 17,000 United Cement, Lime and Gypsum Workers (total membership: 41,000) in 70 of the country's 160 cement plants. With kilns cooling and stockpiles quickly dwindling, contractors laid off about 20,000 construction men in New York, paralyzing work on $400 million in highways, schools, hospitals, airport facilities, piers. In Pennsylvania, expressway construction stopped on a six-mile stretch near York; in Boston. Jacksonville and...

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