Autos: Year of the Coffee Break

In three conference rooms around Detroit, preparations are being made for a decisive confrontation. At the corporate headquarters of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, janitors are washing blackboards, flicking pieces of lint from carpets and drapes, buffing and rebuffing elongated tables. Across these tables next week, scores of bargainers from the auto industry's Big Three will square off against negotiators from the United Auto Workers in Round 1 of the 1964 labor negotiations.

At issue are the wages and working conditions not only of the automobile industry's 565,000 blue-collar employees but of...

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