Meatcutters Strike Betrayed: Oct. 24, 1973

24 Oct
Meat Cutters Strike Betrayed 1973 photo 2

Meat cutters picket line at Giant Food, 1751 Columbia Rd., Washington, DC, Oct. 24, 1973. Photo: Reading/Simpson

Members of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Local 593 went on strike against Washington, DC area Giant Food stores October 23, 1973 after contract negotiations broke down. Their contract had expired in September.

The grocery chains retaliated by locking out union meatcutters at five other chains (Safeway, Grand Union, A&P, Acme and Pantry Pride (Food Fair).

Most rank and file members of the Retail Clerks union and the Teamsters refused to cross picket lines. The local unions of the clerks and teamsters then voted to honor the picket lines.

In a betrayal that would reverberate in the years to come, the International office of the Retail Clerks and the Teamsters refused to give permission to honor the Meat cutters picket lines despite the vote by the locals. Teamsters International President Frank Fitzsimmons stated he would not support any AFL-CIO union as long as the AFL-CIO supported the Farmworkers boycott.

In the face of this lack of support, the Meat Cutters voted 695-475 to support a contract that few would have favored before the strike.

The Meat cutters have since merged with the Retail Clerks to form the United Food & Commercial Workers Union. The Giant Food on Columbia Road has been closed and the chain is now operated by Royal Ahold.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s