On the finest Saturday of the summer so far every principal museum and zoo in the city was closed down by a strike of maintenance and protection employees.
On the finest Saturday of the summer so far every principal museum and zoo in the city was closed down by a strike of maintenance and protection employees. Attendance records which would have run into the thousands stood instead at zero.
The strike vote was all but unanimous last night and this morning the gates of the Bronx Zoo were shut. Pickets posted outside informed the public of the demands of some seven hundred zoo and museum employees. Technically, they are not city employees but because these institutions are partly city-financed they come under the city's salary and career plan. Skeleton crews were left on duty to make sure that the animals are properly fed. But Assistant Zoo Director James Oliver accused the union-- the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees--of not maintaining adequate help. He said this might well lead to serious losses among the animals. The union promised to permit more animal keepers to return to work tomorrow. The Bronx Zoo estimated that it lost thirty thousand customers today because of the strike. Down at Coney Island, the Aquariam had hoped for a weekend crowd of at least four thousand. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cloisters estimated their losses at about seven thousand. From the city, the union is trying to get better classifications and more pay. So far the main casualties of the strike are the zoo and the museum goers who lost out today and two union officers arrested for disorderly conduct on the picket line.