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1968 New York and Memphis: Sanitation workers on strike
01-08-2011, 09:36 PM
Post: #1
1968 New York and Memphis: Sanitation workers on strike

Published Jan 8, 2011 7:49 AM

By a City Sanitation Department worker
New York

In February 1968, some 7,000 sanitation workers gathered in New York’s City Hall Park and voted to go on strike to get a decent contract. For years the city had an unfair official policy: Sanitation worker salaries had to be lower than police and firefighters’ salaries, and sanitation workers had to contribute more from their paychecks, but got lower pensions, compared to police and firefighters. The 1968 strike continued from Feb. 2 through Feb. 10, despite the media’s demonization of the sanitation workers.

Union President John Delury was jailed. New York City Mayor John Lindsay asked the city’s largest worker union, District Council 37, to take over the duties of the sanitation workers and break the strike. When DC37 refused to scab, Lindsay asked New York state Gov. Nelson Rockefeller to send the National Guard to pick up New York’s garbage.

DC37 and the other unions threatened a general strike of all public city workers and possibly all private sector workers in the city if the National Guard was brought in. Only then did Rockefeller flinch. He declined Lindsay’s request and the strike was settled.

During the nine days of this strike, not one snowflake fell in New York City. Out of concern for public safety, during the strike the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association (USA) — IBT Local 831 — even took steps to safeguard the health and safety of special needs communities of New York City by collecting garbage from schools, municipal hospitals and nursing homes.

FULL story at link.

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