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July 20, 1978 – Another Postal Strike was looming in the horizon. In a period of double-digit inflation, the Carter administration sought to hold wage increases to 5.5 percent per year while the postal unions were seeking a 14 percent increase in the first year of an agreement. With contract talks slated to end at Midnight, both sides were reported to be poles apart as far as common ground was concerned. Mediators did agree on one thing; to let the press in for a brief photo session. Other than that, it was all up in the air.
But the strike news wasn’t limited to the Postal Service. A wildcat strike among mechanics kept the subways and most buses from running in Washington. The Mechanics were demanding a cost-of-living pay hike.
In Philadelphia, a turn for the better in labor negotiations as a break in the week-long garbage collectors strike arrived during the early morning hours after marathon talks yielded some positive results. City and Union officials announced a tentative contract settlement and a vote was called for the 20,000 city workers to accept or reject. If ratified, workers would be back on the job within two days. In the meantime, Philadelphia was facing another hot day with garbage piled up on city streets. It also faced another day with City swimming pools, health centers and recreation facilities shut because of the strike. The Garbage Collectors Strike in New Orleans was also continuing.
And President Carter was slated to hold a news conference later on this day. Among the many topics, one sure to grab attention was the brewing scandal over the President’s Drug Abuse Adviser, who put a fictional name on a prescription for an emotionally troubled White House Staffer. The White House released two statements overnight; the first from Dr. Peter Bourne indicated he was taking a leave of absence until the matter had been resolved. The second came from Ellen Metzky, the Administrative assistant to Dr. Bourne and the person for whom the pills were intended. Metzky said she feared her name would be known to those in the drug field and could be used to influence policy. Press Secretary Jody Powell said Bourne had written around 10 prescriptions for other staffers around the White House, about half of them for controlled substances as well as antibiotics and diet pills.
And that’s a little of what went on, this July 20, 1978 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.