Surprise Strike

The U.M.W. digs itself a hole It was nice while it lasted. For exactly one week it looked as if the nation's $21 billion coal industry would be able to avoid yet another of the lengthy and disruptive strikes that since 1966 have repeatedly marred contract talks with miners. Yet after United Mine Workers President Sam Church Jr. finished hammering out a new three-year contract with mineowners belonging to the Bituminous Coal Operators' Association and submitted the pact for ratification to the union's feisty rank and file, the U.M.W.'s 160,000 soft-coal miners overwhelmingly rejected it. Workers and employers then began...

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