PRODUCTION: Crunch--and Crisis

When 400,000 of the nation's soft coal miners walked out April 1, the U.S. public paid little heed. Dopesters in & out of Washington expected that John L. Lewis would whittle down his demands. The miners would probably return to the pits along about the third week.

But in its fifth week, the coal strike was slowly throttling the productive life of the U.S. About 35,000 U.S. Steel employes were idle or down to part-time pay (other large steel companies were generally better off). About 20,000 railmen were out of work.

The Solid Fuels Administration's local offices were swamped by requests from...

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