STA brief strike by employes of two independent dairies that cut off all milk deliveries to all schools amd many hospitals, stores and restuarants throughout the Washington metropolitan area, was ended last night.
Union employes of Embassy Diary of Waldorf, Md., and Shenandoah's Pride Dairy of Springfield voted to accept new contracts offered by their managements and return to work today.
Embassy employes went on strike Sunday after expiration of their contract at midnight Saturday. Shenandoah employes threw up picket lines yesterday after the Sunday midnight expiration of their contract.
While they have a relatively small share of the total market for milk here, the two dairies are sole providers of milk for lunches served to about 500,000 pupils in area school systems.
Responses in school cafeterias to the strike appeared to include confusion, resignation and improvisation.
"What a wild day," said Mary Stevenson, director of food services for the Alexandria City school system, which enrolls 12,000 students.
She said many school cafeteria managers had received no advance warning of the strike by members of Local 246 of the Internation Brotherhood of Teamsters, Milk Drivers and Dairy Employes.
The surprised managers called constantly for instructions, Stevenson said. She said some were able to offer milk that had been left over on Friday, or to substitute fruit juice or lemonade. Some, she said, were told to serve water.
"It's pretty upsetting for us," Stevenson added. She said that in cases where no beverage was available, refunds of 5 cents were made to students. "It certainly is a bookkeeping problem," she said.
Arlington schools' food service manager Bailey McCreery said he crossed the picket line at the Shenandoah Dairy in a truck, and loaded it with the milk he thought might be needed today if the strike had continued.
"The kids have to have something to wash the food down," McCreery said.
Orange juice was substituted for the standard half-pint milk containers in Prince George's County and a fruit drink was offered in some Montgomery County schools.
At Hammond Secondary School in Alexandria, a school administrator gave news of the strike over the public address system. The students seemed unruffled. They "took it very well," he said.
In a meeting at union headquarters, 2120 Bladensburg Rd. NE, Embassy employes voted 48 to 47 to accept a new three-year contract. Shortly afterward, Shenandoah employes voted 67 to 53 to accept a two-year pact, according to union officials.
Spokesmen for the union said that the new contracts will provide pay increases of about $22 a week each year for salaried employes. They said typical earnings under the old contracts were about $22,000 a year for drivers and $16,000 for plant production workers.
A Shenandoah spokesman declined to comment on terms of the settlement and Embassy officials could not be reached.
Union officials said the contracts cover about 140 persons at Embassy and 165 at Shenandoah. They said some of the employes began returning to work last night.
In addition to schools, the dairies involved serve hospitals, restaurants, military installations and some individual householders.