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Wash Post Busted Pressmen’s Union in 1975 Strike. Why It Still Matters Today.

Attribution: The Washington Post
The day after the strike began, another friend and fellow publisher, Arthur Sulzberger of The New York Times, was in D.C. having lunch with Joe Allbritton, the publisher of the Washington Star, the Post’s only major competitor. Sulzberger denied he was in D.C. to pressure Allbritton to join forces with the Post crush the pressmen by printing the Post on the Star’s presses.

“Of course, I didn’t advise Mr. Allbritton what to do. He didn’t ask my advice… and I’m not in any position to give advice,” Sulzberger told a reporter. It was just a friendly lunch, the day after the strike began, and the Times publisher just happened to bring up the following: “I told him about the New York situation in which the unions learned to whipsaw the papers until they [the papers’ owners] learned to work together.”

While Sulzberger denied pressing Allbritton, Graham didn’t. “On the morning of October 2, Mark [Meagher] and I went to see Joe Allbritton to propose the idea that the Star print the Post on its presses, which would, of course, have resulted in that paper’s being shut down, too,” Graham wrote.

Had the Star printed the Post, the Star’s pressmen were expected to strike in solidarity with the Post pressmen. And a stoppage could have put the Star, which was facing financial difficulties, out of business.

Still, Times columnist James Reston thought the Star should print the Post “even if they had to go down together.” Allbritton, however, thought differently and continued publishing only the Star.

Attribution: Pete Tucker -
Full story: 1975 Strike

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