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Meat Shortage, Strikes
BY A STAFF CORRESPONDENT IN NEW YORK
Indignant about the meat famine and concerned at the increasing threat of a new wave of strikes, Americans are passing through an unhappy period.
deprived of the major por- tion of its normal weekly ration ol 400 million pounds of red meat, on« again proved its inability to do with- out uncomplainingly. . '
So insistent was the demand for far« other than fish and fowl that politician! with an eye on the November elections joined in the broken chorus j»sking foi abolition of price controls on meat-onl> to encounter a firm refusal by Presidenl Truman, who would not consider a change in price ceilings.
He was not ready to surrender one of his last strongholds in the fight against the steadily mounting cost of living.
Two governors have demanded Govern- ment slaughtering. of meat for hospital patients and a variety of officials have called for a moratorium of meat controls. The leader of the Miners' Union, John L. Lewis, said his men could not be expected to work on inadequate diets. Some Ameri- cans tasted horse meat for the first time and butcher shops are closed in many I cities.
! While the universal cry for meat rose
all over the United States, 52 million I head of cattle, 58 million hogs, and 20 I million lambs awaited the outcome of the I political controversy on western ranches
and in feeders' pens. Farmers and growers would not sell the animals to thc slaughter- houses, presumably holding out for higher prices they obtained before controls were restored a few weeks ago.
Certainty Of Strikes
But the Government, faced with the certainty of a renewed large-scale strike wave if costs kept on increasing and further diminished the wage-earners' real income, would not yield in the apparent expectation that farmers would eventually supply the animals at regulation prices.
Even with the price control barrier hold- ing, although shaky, as exemplified by the meat situation, it seemed evident last week that America was heading for a second period of industrial unrest, arising from the upward flight of (he cost of livinf»
The farmers' refusal to sell their cattle was symptomatic of the growing demand for higher incomes and wages throughout
the United States.
Dissatisfaction with present incomes came at the ,heel of a year in which 117.300,000 rqan-days were lost because of strikes affecting practically every branch of industry. Tbe curve of the strike-wave from August, 1945, to August, 1946, reached its apex last February, when i 21,500,000 man-days were lost.
? The past summer seemed relatively calm, with average losses of 3,500,000 in June, July, and August, but ominous rumours of strike plans by union leaders in the auto- mobile and steel and shipping industries kept up the tension last week.
Americans received a possible advance
taste of the near future when Pittsburgh, centre of Pennsylvania's mighty coal and iron basin, dimmed its lights, because 3,500 employees of a light company walked out. Many factories, plants, offices, and stores in the steel capital had : to close down, keeping 100,000 persons out of
On the Pacific Coast, Hollywood's intra union disputes continued in their violent