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From the Vault: News from the Feb. 25, 1981 edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 2/28/18

Unions go to bat to close Three Mile Island

On Monday morning in Harrisburg, leaders representing eight international unions formally announced their support in what has been predicted to be a …

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From the Vault: News from the Feb. 25, 1981 edition of the Press & Journal


Unions go to bat to close Three Mile Island

On Monday morning in Harrisburg, leaders representing eight international unions formally announced their support in what has been predicted to be a massive National March on Harrisburg commemorating the second anniversary of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident.

The unions who have pledged their full support of the rally include the United Mine Workers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the International Chemical Workers, Graphic Arts International, the United Auto Workers, the International Longshoremen's & Warehousemen's Union, United Furniture Workers of America, and the International Woodworkers of America.

At the news conference, the march organizers predicted that thousands of union members will be pouring into Harrisburg on March 28 with a list of demands. The union's platform regarding TMI include: keeping the nuclear power facility closed, especially Unit 1; and not allowing the dumping of contaminated water from cleanup efforts into the Susquehanna River. The water resulted from cleanup efforts at the damaged Unit 2 reactor.

Also outlined on Monday were three other demands: support of the United Mine Workers in their efforts to gain a decent contract; a shorter work week and massive public works programs; and guaranteed alternate jobs for nuclear workers at union rates.

“There is a new crisis at Three Mile Island,” Joe Jurczak, United Mine Workers union spokesman, said at the meeting. “Dangerous levels of poisonous cesium have just been discovered in groundwater in the area. At the same time, the owners of TMI are proposing to dump 700,000 gallons of radioactive water in the Susquehanna River, the source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people. How long will the people of central Pennsylvania be forced to live with this nuclear nightmare?”

When asked if the United Mine Workers were utilizing the TMI issue as a foundation in order for them to gain a better contract, Jurczak denied the allegation.

The UMW’s contract expires on March 27, the day before the tentative march rally. Jurczak added that he was calling on all the people of the greater Harrisburg area to come to Harrisburg on March 28 to demand: “No more TMIs. Keep Units 1 and 2 shut down. No dumping of radioactive water in the Susquehanna River.”

It was disclosed that full-time organizers have been at work in Harrisburg, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and New York in getting the word out to union members to attend and support the March 28 march in Harrisburg.

“Here in Pennsylvania, for example,” Jurczak stated, “the UMW has done a mailing to all of our locals urging them to mobilize for the march. We are puffing three full-time organizers on the road for 10 days each to visit our locals and help them mobilize.”

Jurczak added that he believes that the march will be a historic demonstration.

“We believe the entry of some of the country’s leading unions into the fight to keep TMI shut down opens a whole new stage in the fight for safe, affordable energy and in the trade movement itself.”

“We insist on representing the best interest of our membership and other people which is to eliminate this danger," said Earl Keihl, international regional director, United Furniture Workers of America. “The date of that accident has burned into our consciousness … everything we had worked for would have been abandoned, our homes, jobs, everything. We were near-victims once. We must not be real victims in the future.”

All for others: Resident is nurse at apartments

Jesse Clark is a modern-day Florence Nightingale.

As a registered nurse, she has acquired the same valuable skills and experience; as a human being, she demonstrates the caring and unselfishness that promotes the harmony so highly valued by her predecessor.

Mrs. Clark is a resident of the Middletown Interfaith Apartments, and it is there she carries out her personal voluntary mission. Whenever someone is sick, or develops a sudden condition warranting concern, Mrs. Clark is there. Lugging a sizable brown ammunition box filled with various medical supplies (donated, respectively, by Pennsylvania Outdoors Sport Shop and the Apothecary Shop), she makes her rounds to take blood pressure, administer injections, or simply provide relief in the form of a good backrub.

Some of the residents she visits regularly; others are responded to when requests are made.

In addition to those individual efforts, Mrs. Clark and another volunteer by the name of Mae Britman provide another service so essential to the good health of many elderly folk: blood pressure check-ups.

Every three months, the pair lay out their files and equipment and test pressures.

Raiders keep step ahead of Wildcats

In their final Capitol Area Conference game last Friday, Bob Heusser's Middletown Blue Raiders handled the Mechanicsburg Wildcats before a hometown crowd, 63-51.

For the Blue Raiders, senior Rick Budney was “Mr. Everything” as he accounted for the game-high point tally between both squads, 26 points. It was Budney’s on-the-money firings in the second period that lifted the depressed Middletown squad.

Middletown opened the contest fast and heavy and quickly erected an eight-point cushion of points over the visiting Mechanicsburg team. Both squads squared off in period two with 18 points apiece. The Raiders held the halftime edge though and retired in the lead, 37-29, at the half.

Breathing fire from the locker room following inter-mission, the Wildcats refused to be tamed in the third period as they swamped the Raider defense with 12 points. The Raiders only managed half that as they gasped for air under a cold shooting fit.

Mechanicsburg came within a basket of the Raiders at the contest’s three-quarters mark, 43-41, but that was close as they would get.

Headlines from the edition

• Your electric bill will reflect surcharge

• Unusually low bid verified, then accepted

Hot buys

• Stoner’s Sporting Goods grand opening. Converse T-shirts, 100 percent cotton, 2 for $10. Men’s and women’s running shoes, $19.95. Jaclar warm-ups, 100 percent acrylic, $29.95. In Middletown’s downtown “mini mall.”

• 1978 Plymouth Arrow G.S., four-cylinder, clean car, $4,995. 1973 Dodge Coronet custom sedan, 318 engine, $1,595. 1975 Plymouth Valiant sedan, six-cylinder, $2,895. 1977 Dodge Aspen Custom, six-cylinder, low mileage, $3,495. Behney Motors, Race and Emaus streets, Middletown.