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U.S. Steel Announces Price Increases, Angering President Kennedy

Apr. 10, 1962 - The United States Steel Corporation announced this evening price increases averaging $6 a ton, effective at midnight. The other members of the “Big 11” steel companies were expected to announce increases soon. U.S. Steel said the increase would affect all its principal products. President Kennedy was reportedly infuriated by the news. The President has deliberately leashed some of his liberal instincts in an attempt to create good working relations with business. In the case of steel, he applied intense pressure on labor to limit its wage demands this year. The price increase will embarrass him with his supporters in the labor movement. The President and his lieutenants have been working hard for almost a year to get this key industry and its workers to exercise restraint on prices and wages. With last week’s signing of a new steel labor contract that the President hailed as “non-inflationary,” the Administration thought its mission accomplished. President Kennedy will have an opportunity to comment publicly himself at his news conference tomorrow. Whether he will show his temper then or will have adopted the calm Harvard approach that he often uses in public was not known tonight.


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