NEW YORK (Mar. 9)
Bayard Rustin, the black civil rights leader, has informed the National Council of Jewish Women that he will not be on hand to accept its 1971 John F. Kennedy Award later this month if the clerical and professional workers striking the Council are still picketing. Rustin, executive director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute here, wrote also to Richard Morton, executive director of Local 1707 of the Community and Social Agency Employes, AFL-CIO. He said simply: “You can be assured that I shall honor Local 1707’s picket line if you are on strike at the time of the award.” That time is March 28-April 1, when the Council will be holding its biennial convention in Detroit. Union spokesman Erik Strong told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that “so far there is no indication that management is willing to discuss anything” beyond an offer of a $100-a-week minimum wage effective in July.
Strong said that that offer was “totally unacceptable,” and charged the Council with failing to discuss pension plans, health plans and overtime. The walkout by the 60 union members–three weeks old today –is the first strike against the 100,000 member Council in its 65-year existence. Rustin has been named to receive the NCJW’s Kennedy award for service to humanity. Hannah Stein, executive director of the NCJW, commented on Rustin’s letter: “We recognize his position.” She added that should Rustin not appear at the convention, “in one form or another he will get his award.” String also told the JTA that his office had written to Sol M. Linowitz, the attorney and business executive scheduled to speak at the Council convention, advising him that the Detroit Hilton will be picketed by the union. As of today, he said, Linowitz had not replied.