News in 1958
The Select Senate
Committee on Improper Labor-Management
Activites reported on March 24 that
"union funds in excess of $10
million were either stolen, embezzled, or
misused by union officials over a period
of 15 years."
Top: The Senate 'Rackets
Committee' continued hearings in March.
At hearings held from May 9 to June 6,
the committee aired charges that the
Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company
had made secret pacts with the
Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher
Workmen, and that Food Fair Stores had
sold stock to union officials at
drastically marked-down prices.
The committee held an introductory
hearing in Washington June 30-July 3 to
investigate charges that a Mafia
syndicate had infiltrated unions and
racketeering and violence in dealings
with Chicago restaurants with the
restaurant and bartender union were
presented before the committee July 8-17.
Bottom: Chicago restaurant
owners testified in racketeering probes.
On September 15 the committee heard
former television producer Joseph A.
Schneiders testify that at least $6,200
in Teamsters Brotherhood money had been
used to help re-elect a Detroit judge who
later presided over the trial of five
Teamsters officials charged with
AFL-CIO president George Meany
(left) met in August with Labor Secretary
James Mitchell concerning congressional
labor reform legislation about which they
had not agreed.
The Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen celebrated
its 75th anniversary in Oneonta, New York, on
September 23, and the sole living charter member,
93-year-old Elmer Wessell, was present.
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and
Enginemen celebrated its 85th birthday in 1958.
The Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen,
which celebrated its 90th birthday on July 6,
elected vice-president James A. Paddock to
succeed retiring president R.O. Hughes.
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers
celebrated its 95th birthday in May. The
Engineers won a 13 per cent wage boost in July,
the increase to be spread over a three-year
period. The new contract also provided for an
escalator clause and fringe benefit improvements.
officials refused to testify before the
Senate "Rackets Committee"
about violence in Texas and Louisiana.
F. English, James
R. Hoffa, and Thomas Flynn attended
an October meeting of the Eastern
Conference of Teamsters.
president Walter P. Reuther spoke of
bargaining goals at a special convention
When contracts with
General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford
expired on May 30, the automobile workers
were without a contract for the first
time in 21 years. The UAW and Ford Motor
Company agreed on a three-year contract
on September 17, shortly after some
98,000 workers across the nation went on
strike. The agreement added about 10
cents an hour to base pay and provided
several fringe benefits.
Right: Smiles marked
agreement between Ford Motor Company and
the United Auto Workers on the final
terms of a contract. Ford vice-president
John S. Burgas is at left, Walter Reuther
Chrysler Corporation and the UAW
signed a three-year contract on October
1. The new contract included a general
wage increase of 7 cents an hour and
On October 2 more than 250,000 UAW
members went on strike against General
Motors. The nationwide strike affected
126 plants, but lasted only 12 hours. It
ended when agreement was reached on a
three-year contract similar to those made
with Ford and Chrysler.
Mine Workers of America (UMWA)
A new wage agreement
between the United Mine Workers of
America and bituminous coal operators was
signed on December 3. The new contract
called for a $2-a-day wage increase
effective in two steps, with the basic
daily wage rate to be $24.25 on April 1,
1959. The agreement also boosted vacation
pay from $180 to $200 for the annual
14-day summer vacation period for all
unionized mines. A "first" for
the UMWA was inclusion in the contract of
a clause whereby commercial operations
agreed not to handle soft coal produced
outside of UMWA contract terms.
Right: UMWA president John L.
Lewis (center) sought a new contract for
members of the soft coal industry in
||A new American Bakery and
Confectionery Workers Union was
chartered, and a new Laundry Workers
International Union was formed in early
1958, following their expulsion from the
AFL-CIO in December 1957 (along with the
bakery union officials scuffled when a
rebel group tried to take over the
Chicago headquarters of the union.
||James Petrillo retired as
president of the American Federation of
Musicians and was succeeded by Herman D.
C. Petrillo, retiring president of the
American Federation of Musicians, wipes
away tears as members cheer him at the
annual convention in June.
||The first serious garment
workers' strike in 25 years took place in
March when 105,000 members of the
International Ladies' Garment Workers
walked out. The strike was settled March
A Ladies' Garment Workers rally at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York, on March
The 1959 Compton Yearbook
Chicago: F. E. Compton & Company, 1959
James R. Hoffa
Madison Square Garden
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