Bertram A. Powers, the former head of New York?s newspaper printers? union who led a 16-week strike in the 1960s that paralyzed the city?s dailies, has died. He was 84.
Powers led New York?s Local 6 of the International Typographical Union for 29 years until his retirement in the mid-1990s. In December 1962, he called the union?s first strike in 88 years against New York?s eight daily newspapers over demands for higher wages and a contract set to expire at all the papers at the same time.
Over the next five years, four of New York?s dailies went out of business or were combined and Powers? critics blamed the strike. But Powers argued it had less to do with the strike than with the “national phenomenon of newspaper consolidation and attrition,” his son said.
Powers was born in Cambridge, Mass., in 1922. He left school after the 10th grade and worked for the government?s Civilian Conservation Corps. He was hit by a truck in 1937, leaving him with a permanent limp.
He is survived by his sons Brian and Kevin Powers, of Buffalo, N.Y.; daughters Patricia Inciardi, of Movato, Calif., and Moya Keating, of Chatham, N.J.; three sisters and nine grandchildren.