Business: Tug of War

Historically afflicted by strikes, the U.S. copper industry is now going through one that is undoubtedly the most costly ever. For more than five months, 60,000 copper workers have been idled by a strike of 26 unions, led by the United Steelworkers. All of the industry's Big Four—Kenhecott, Anaconda, American Smelting & Refining and Phelps Dodge—are affected. The unions demand hourly wage increases totaling 990 by their calculation and industry-wide bargaining; the companies have offered about 500 and have insisted on maintaining the same plant-by-plant bargaining system that copper men have always used. Last week, in a desperate effort to break...

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