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Pilots Get Union Support in South Georgia

August 18, 1989

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) _ Striking Eastern Airlines workers, making a 3,000-mile ″Journey for Justice″ to dramatize their plight, were greeted by brewery workers Friday during a rally on the edge of a south Georgia pecan orchard.

About 28 pilots, flight attendants and machinists stopped in Albany to gather donations and collect signatures for a petition that asks President Bush to appoint a trustee to run the troubled airline.

″Bush goes to Poland and embraces the labor leaders over there, yet he won’t give us the time of day,″ said pilot Buddy Davison of Baytown, Texas. ″Our goal is to get a trustee appointed to get the airline and the workers back to work.″

The Eastern workers inflated a blue and white hot-air ballon with pro-union messages, sold T-shirts to bolster strike funds and passed out bumper stickers during their Albany rally.

About 30 workers from the nearby Miller Brewing Co. plant joined them in a hot, dusty field. The brewery workers are members of Local 2699 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the same union that represents Eastern machinists.

The airline’s machinists went on strike March 4, and most of the its pilots and flight attendants decided not to cross their picket lines.

Davison said the main issue in the dispute is Frank Lorenzo, chairman of Texas Air Corp., which owns Eastern and sister carrier Continental Airlines. Davison contended Lorenzo is trying to destroy the unions and dismantle Eastern by selling off its assets.

The ″Journey for Justice″ began Saturday at Eastern’s headquarters in Miami. Traveling in cars and motorhomes, their motorcade will make numerous stops enroute to New York City and Washington, D.C.

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