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Union Says It Will Continue Strike Against Ncjw ‘until They Settle’

A spokesman for Local 1707 of the Community and Social Agency Employes, AFL-CIO, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that the union members were prepared to continue their strike against the National Council of Jewish Women, now in its second week, “until they settle.” The strikers, 60 clerical and professional workers, have rejected seven times the Council’s offer of $100-a-week minimum wage effective in July. Their contract expired Dec. 31. The strike is the first ever staged against the NCJW. The union spokesman, Erik Strong, criticized the Council for paying a $65 weekly minimum for clerical help and a $6,500 annual minimum for professional staffers, with the maximum for a professional at $10,500. In addition, he criticized the pension plan as “terrible,” the health plan as “bad” and the overtime compensation as insufficient. The Council, he charged, has an “enormous” personnel turnover because it pays “notoriously low wages.”

Hannah Stein, executive director of the Council, told the JTA “We’ve made what we consider to be a very fair offer. It’s not tremendous, but it’s reasonable.” She said that in actual practice, the lowest paid clerical help–file clerks–were receiving at least $80 a week, and the lowest-paid mailroom boy $90, which she called “a reasonable amount for a totally untrained boy who comes into the mailroom.” Mrs. Stein said that although the annual minimum for professionals was $10,500, there were professionals as the Council receiving as much as $13,500. She praised the Council’s pension plan, which she said was 97.3 percent paid by the organization, and the health plan, which she said was fully paid by the organization and included up to 60 days’ sick leave. Mrs. Stein charged the union with failing to notify the Council that it was going to walk out. Strong, the union spokesman, said the Council had been notified through an announcement in the union’s publication. Mrs. Stein, noting that Council work was “piling up” in the “emergency situation,” observed that the 100,000-member-Council has a convention scheduled for March 28 in Detroit. The union, she claimed, “pulled this (strike) just to make it more uncomfortable for us.”

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