Pan Am, Ground Crews in Accord : But Union Official Warns He Will Urge Rejection of Pact

Pan American World Airways and representatives for 5,800 striking ground crew workers reached a tentative agreement Saturday on a new contract, but a union official warned that he would recommend against ratification.

Transport Workers Union members, who walked off the job on Feb. 28, were to remain on strike until the agreement was ratified. A vote could be taken Tuesday, union officials said.

Robert Brown, the federal mediator in the dispute, said: "Needless to say, I am delighted that an agreement has been reached. I want to compliment both sides on a very vigorous bargaining effort."

But leaders of the largest local in the union were not pleased.

"We didn't get anything. There's not one proposal for the membership that's in that agreement," said Hank Williams, vice president of Transport Workers Union Local 504, representing about 4,000 of the striking mechanics and ground crews.

The strike forced Pan Am, which reported $206.8 million in losses in 1984, to virtually halt domestic service and severely curtail international flights. But officials expected 52.1% of normal service to be restored by Monday night regardless of the strike, a company spokesman said.

The walkout has been the longest in the airline's history, the spokesman said.

Company officials confirmed the tentative agreement but declined to give details pending the outcome of the vote.

Williams said the tentative pact failed to protect more than 700 transport workers who lost their jobs when Pan Am sold its flight kitchens to Marriott Corp. after the walkout began.

Unresolved Issues

Also unresolved were the company's right to hire part-time workers and pay increases totaling 14.5% over three years that the union agreed to forgo in 1981 when employees accepted a 10% wage cut to help keep the company afloat, Williams said.

Local 504 leaders agree that the proposal is unacceptable, he said.

"We're not going to recommend it," he said. "I think our membership will follow us on our recommendations."

The transport workers struck after rejecting a company offer to raise salaries by 20% over 36 months, plus an immediate $1,200 bonus and a $90 bonus for other employees negotiating for new work agreements.

The workers also rejected a Pan Am proposal to hire part-time employees and create a two-tier salary system to pay new full-time employees as much as 50% less than veterans. Negotiations to reach the tentative agreement began on March 14.

Meanwhile, Pan Am was continuing separate contract negotiations with the Independent Union of Flight Attendants, representing about 6,000 employees whose contract also expired Jan. 1. The flight attendants have set April 1 as their strike deadline. On Friday, the attendants began crossing picket lines set up by the transport workers.

Pan Am wants to hire non-union workers, primarily foreign nationals, for flights that originate and ends in foreign countries, union and company officials said.

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