"No matter how often the Washington Post’s official and self-serving account of the 1976 pressmen’s strike is regurgitated, it remains a fabrication worthy of Donald Trump," writes Fred Solowey. "Michael Rosenwald’s recent articleon the occasion of what would have been Post publisher Katharine Graham’s 100th birthday continues this inglorious tradition. Graham had decided on the priority of profit-maximization and that meant that its most militant union—Pressmen’s Local 6—had to be neutralized and its good contract gutted. Graham not only got cooperation from the government to help it beat the strikers by waiving air-space restrictions (helicopters being used to usher in scabs as well as printing plates), but Graham got additional, virtually unprecedented—and blatantly improper--help in another way: a grand jury was convened and over 100 strikers were subpoenaed during the months after the strike began with the aim of destroying solidarity and unity among the strikers. An employer actually seeking resolution in a labor dispute would never have used its power that way. Though it has largely been forgotten, it was this strike that really set the stage for the better-known PATCO strike in 1981, which also used scab permanent replacement workers and which many have seen as a turning point in U.S. labor relations. Graham and her crew beat Ronald Reagan to the punch by several years."
- Solowey is a long-time union editor and member of UAW 1981, and former co-chair of the Local 6 Legal Defense Committee. photo by Pete Schmick, Courtesy DC Public Library, Star Collection, © Washington Post; click here for Craig Simpson's report on the strike