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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND NEWSPAPER STRIKE OF 1962

CLEVELAND NEWSPAPER STRIKE OF 1962

The CLEVELAND NEWSPAPER STRIKE OF 1962, the city's third, turned out to be the most consequential in the history of local journalism. It was triggered by a walkout of drivers (Teamsters Local 473) at the PLAIN DEALER on the night of 29 Nov. 1962, but the underlying cause was the effort of the CLEVELAND NEWSPAPER GUILD (Local 1) to secure a closed shop in the CLEVELAND PRESS business department. Although the Plain Dealer's business department was completely unorganized by anyone, that paper was pulled into the strike by union membership of employees in other departments. In all, 2,400 members of 11 different unions joined the work stoppage. An estimated $2.6 million in wages was lost by the strikers, while the two newspapers estimated their losses at $19 million, much of it in canceled Christmas advertising. As the 129-day strike dragged on, various expedients were adopted in efforts to circumvent the news blackout, rendered even more complete by a simultaneous 114-day newspaper strike in New York. Department store owners temporarily revived the CLEVELAND SHOPPING NEWS, while the weekly Heights Sun-Press began appearing twice a week. The chief stopgap was provided by the Newspaper Guild itself, which published the CLEVELAND RECORD from 21 Jan. 1963 to the end of the strike. With the ratification of new contracts by the Printers' and Machinists' unions on 4 Apr., the way was clear for the reappearance of the Plain Dealer and the Press on 8 Apr. Although the guild failed to obtain its union shop, the ultimate loser in the strike was the Cleveland Press. Upon resumption of publication, the Press suffered a circulation drop of 40,000 readers, to only 12,000 for the Plain Dealer. Other newspaper strikes occurred locally in 1946, 1956, 1972, and 1974.