The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.63/No.4           February 1, 1999 
25 And 50 Years Ago  

February 1, 1974
An agreement ending the month-long strike in Southern California's retail food industry was ratified by union members Jan. 5.

A coalition of unions, including Teamsters, Butchers, Operating Engineers, and Machinists, representing 22,000 workers, struck three leading supermarket chains on Dec. 3.

In retaliation, members of the antiunion Food Employers Council locked out members of striking unions at all of its members stores. This affected the jobs of an estimated 100,000 workers.

Members of the different unions got different settlements out of the strike. These included wages increases, raises in pension fund contributions, and - for Teamsters - an end to compulsory overtime for 25 percent of its membership. Meat Cutters, Teamsters, and Operating Engineers also won a modified escalator clause.

A key issue for the Meat Cutters was the "new methods clause." The jobs of thousands of butchers have been jeopardized by the introduction of machinery to speed up production. While maintaining the right to strike over this question in Northern California, the butchers failed in efforts to get this provision extended to contracts in Southern California.

January 31, 1949
When a clique of Army officers staged a coup d'etat in Caracas, Venezuela, Nov. 24, the U.S. State Department hastened to announce that the property of investors in Venezuela was "safe" but that it was still "too early" to discuss formal recognition of the military conspirators. The overthrown Gallegos government had polled 70 percent of the vote in a free election last spring. The smashing of such a democratically- elected regime shocked public opinion in the United States and the Truman administration was sharply criticized for its role in fostering to totalitarianism in Latin America. On Jan. 21, not even two months since the officer clique seized power by force and violence, the administration recognized the plotters as the legal government of Venezuela.

A State Department spokesman announced with the usual poker face of an imperialist diplomat that this "delay" was deliberately designed to make "abundantly clear" that it considered forcible overturns not only deplorable but usually inconsistent with the acknowledged ideals of the American Republic. The military gangsters who brought totalitarianism to power in Venezuela gun in hand made no comment. Nor did the oil companies, mainly Standard Oil and Royal Dutch Shell, who have some $2 billion worth of investment in Venezuela.

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