February 22, 1978 – Day 79 of the nationwide Coal Strike and negotiations were dragging on. More talks were scheduled in Washington, but Labor Department Officials indicated that labor and management were still far apart on the agreement to a new contract. The latest proposal for breaking the deadlock came the night before from the Management side. In a surprise move just before midnight, the Coal Industry proposed that the contract dispute be settled through binding arbitration rather than negotiations. Under the proposal, miners would go back to work the coming Monday. The Coal Operators and the United Mine Workers would each choose a member of the arbitration panel and jointly select a Chairman. The panel would begin its deliberations no later than March 6th. The Coal Operators agreed to resume bargaining but indicated they would resist some of the terms of that agreement. The Coal Operators were expecting their arbitration scheme to be rejected by the Union. And nobody had a clear idea of what would happen after that. White House Press Secretary Jody Powell told reporters this would be the week a major decision would be made regarding the coal strike, but didn’t indicate what that decision might be. Drama and cliff-hangers.
Meanwhile – Capitol Hill was busy debating the upcoming Panama Canal Treaty. Going into Executive Session, The Senate debated behind locked doors for nearly ten hours the day before. An additional four hours was expected this day. Speculation was rife that, once the doors were opened and general debate resumed on the treaty, if revelations over Drug smuggling would have any impact.
Speaking of revelations – hearings were expected to resume over the Korean Influence Buying Scandal – or Koreagate as it was known with the House Ethics Committee gearing up for testimony from Korean diplomates in the upcoming week.
And the funeral in Cairo for fifteen Army commandos killed at Larnaca Airport in Cyprus in their unsuccessful effort to capture two terrorists who had assassinated a Cairo newspaper editor got quickly out of hand. Crowds gathered yelling “Kill the Palestinians” and “Down with Cyprus” broke into a full-fledged riot. They stormed the funeral procession, forcing Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to be taken away by security for safety, before breaking through barriers and storming the monument where the ceremony was to be held.
All that, and so much more for this February 22, 1979 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup and The World Tonight.