Telegram Requesting the Parties in the Copper Strike To Resume Negotiations at the White House.
THE COPPER STRIKE is now in its 231st day. The parties remain divided on major issues. There is no foreseeable prospect that the parties, if left to themselves, will resolve this dispute in the near future.
The shortage of copper resulting from the strike is having a substantial impact upon the economy of the nation and the balance of payments, and it has grave implications for our defense effort. It is also having a devastating effect upon the participants in the dispute and the several states directly involved. Therefore, the public has a vital interest in the immediate resolution of this dispute.
Because of that public interest, on January 24, 1968, the Secretaries of Commerce and Labor appointed a mediation panel of the most eminent impartial labor relations experts, consisting of Professor George Taylor, Chairman, Monsignor George Higgins, and Mr. George Reedy. That panel held several days of hearings, public and private, and on February 17, 1968, issued suggested guidelines to the parties on procedural issues in the dispute. Regrettably, these have not been put into effect by the parties.
In my judgment, the national interest requires further and immediate governmental effort to resolve the copper strike. To that end, I am requesting that you meet with me together with representatives of all major copper companies and union representatives of the striking employees at the White House on Monday, March 4, at 4:00 p.m. I am requesting you to resume collective bargaining negotiations on an around the clock basis with the assistance of the Secretaries of Defense, Labor, and Commerce and the members of the mediation panel. The well considered guidelines proposed by the panel should be of material help in the intensified negotiations to bring about an immediate settlement of the strike. The national interest requires that the parties, with the assistance I am providing, agree to contract terms which will end the strike. I am confident that in light of the urgency of the situation, all concerned will respond to my request in the interest of our nation.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
Note: This is the text of identical telegrams sent to the following persons: I. W. Abel, United Steelworkers of America; P. L. Siemiller, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; Paul Jennings, International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers; Walter P. Reuther, International Union, United Automobile Workers; R. D. Bradford, American Smelting and Mining Company; C. Jay Parkinson, Anaconda Company; Frank R. Milliken, Kennecott Copper Corporation; Robert Page, Phelps Dodge Corporation; and Gordon M. Freeman, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
For remarks of the President on March 4 to company and union representatives, see Item 112.
The text of the telegram was released at Houston, Texas.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Telegram Requesting the Parties in the Copper Strike To Resume Negotiations at the White House. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/237496