LABOR: Rubber's Costly Showdown

Plastered to the gold-wallpapered column in the lobby of the Sheraton-Cleveland Hotel, a newly printed bumper sticker proclaimed: DON'T BUY FIRESTONE PRODUCTS. Nearby, in an elegant ballroom, negotiators for Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. and the United Rubber Workers had failed to wrap up a new contract—and so, across the nation, 60,000 union members walked off their jobs at plants of the industry's Big Four (Firestone, Uniroyal, Goodrich and Goodyear).

The strike illustrates a growing danger for the economy: what had been expected to be a relatively peaceful labor-bargaining climate this year...

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