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P. M. BRIEFING : Eastern Airlines Calls Off Attempt to Break Contract With Pilots’ Union

<i> From Times wire service</i> s

Eastern Airlines said today it will no longer seek court permission to break its contract with the Air Line Pilots Assn. because that request appears to have become counterproductive.

Eastern sought bankruptcy court permission June 22 to break the contract so it could impose temporary pay cuts and permanent work rule changes on pilots.

Eastern pilots walked off the job March 4 in sympathy with striking co-workers. Eastern filed for bankruptcy five days later.

At the time, pilots were negotiating a new contract with management. The terms of the old contract have remained in force pending the outcome of those negotiations.

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By seeking permission to break the contract, “Eastern hoped to initiate a series of negotiations which would ultimately result in a prompt settlement of the ALPA labor dispute,” Eastern said in a statement submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

The company said it now appears that its request “may be an impediment to resolving the dispute at this particular time.” Eastern said it withdrew the request as a result.

A spokesman for the pilots union expressed surprise at Eastern’s reasoning.

“In other words, they (Eastern) used the bankruptcy court for other purposes,” ALPA spokesman Hank Weber said. “What an admission. Now you understand why we pilots have very little trust for the management.”

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