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Dateline Wausau, 1969: Phone workers strike

5:26 PM, Jun. 4, 2013  |  Comments
Telephone workers strike in 1969 in Wausau.
Telephone workers strike in 1969 in Wausau.
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1969: Local phone workers go on strike

About 300 telephone workers in Marathon and Lincoln counties walked off the job early on July 17, 1969, reported that day's Wausau Daily Record-Herald.

The wildcat strike by Communication Workers of America Local 5572 left only management personnel in the Wausau and Merrill offices of General Telephone Co. and affected workers in surrounding communities of Schofield, Rothschild, Marshfield, Marathon and Hatley.

Union members voted to strike in support of an employee who was suspended "for failing to report for overtime work," the paper reported. The union wanted the employee's reinstatement, which already had happened before the strike began, plus removal of a disciplinary letter from the worker's file, reimbursement of the person's lost pay and an end to "threatening remarks" from supervisors.

The strike affected long-distance operators, maintenance crews, installers and office workers. Robert Blemski, division service manager in the Wausau office, asked customers to dial their calls directly and avoid making calls if possible. He said management employees would be available to help in emergencies.

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