THE UNITED RUBBER WORKERS threw in the towel, ending their 10-month strike at Bridgestone/Firestone. No glorious victory, this: Bridgestone filled most of the strikers' slots with replacement workers. The company's strategy didn't thrill the Clinton Administration, but it did effectively win the battle. By unconditionally agreeing to return to work, most URW members will merely win preferential-hiring rights. Badly beaten, the union will meet on June 30 to vote on a merger with the deeper-pocketed United Steelworkers.

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