PERSONALITY: The Master Mediator

Willie Julian Usery could easily lay claim to holding the most impossible job in Washington. His chief title is Secretary of Labor, but he is also a Special Assistant to the President and the Ford Administration's top labor-management mediator. As such, he is supposed to make sure that neither long strikes nor inflationary wage settlements slow the nation's economic recovery—in a year when contracts covering no fewer than 4.5 million workers expire and rising corporate profits are emboldening unions to demand fat increases in order to catch up with past inflation.

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