Back in Service

A trend-setting settlement

Some 675,000 telephone workers will be back on the job this week, ending their strike that began Aug. 7. Aside from the workers, not too many people are likely to notice. So automated is the Bell System that it handles 561 million calls a day with fewer employees than ever. As a result, most U.S. phone communications hummed along during the strike without so much as an interfering bleep, although callers had to wait a little longer for directory and operator assistance from substituting supervisory people or from what Harley Shaiken, a labor analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of...

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