Snow Hampers Shuttle Operations, More Buses Run, Machinists Appeal With AM-Eastern, Bjt
Undated (AP) _ Eastern Airlines managers hauled luggage and de-iced planes Monday to help keep the Northeast shuttle aloft while the embattled carrier canceled nearly all other operations in its ongoing Machinists strike.
Interstate bus and train lines boosted service and Northeast commuters were spared rush-hour chaos as Machinists refrained from picketing commuter railroads after a judge barred sympathy strikes by rail workers.
At New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Eastern said it was more than 2 inches of snow - not the strike - that grounded 10 of the day’s first 16 shuttle flights between Boston, New York and Washington.
Eastern told its workers to dress warmly before coming to the airport and supervisors traded suits for boots and took to runways de-icing planes.
Spokesman Tim Cook said patronage was light but he didn’t have precise figures because the statistician was ″out throwing bags.″
Actor Ed Asner, a former Screen Actors Guild president, donned a sign saying ″On Strike″ and joined picketing Machinists at LaGuardia. He labeled Texas Air Corp. Chairman Frank Lorenzo as one of the ″corporate raiders who take what they can get and leave behind the desiccated hulls of the companies.″
Management personnel and union members not honoring the strike staffed shuttle flights, which with a few South American flights was the only remaining Eastern service.
A New York federal judge’s ruling Sunday barred secondary strikes by three commuter railroads that threatened to disrupt service for more than 300,000 workers in the metropolitan area. The judge issued a similar order against Amtrak workers on Monday. The orders expire Wednesday.
The Machinists had planned to utilize the 1926 Railway Labor Act and picket the nation’s 12 commuter railroads and Amtrak. Rail workers said they would honor the pickets, but the Machinists called off the secondary action following Sunday’s court order.
In Boston, transit officials reported a slight decrease in commuter rail ridership Monday and a slight increase in bus and subway service, citing commuter fears that the railroads would be struck.
Amtrak said ridership was up between Boston and Washington.
The railroad added 12 Metroliner trains Monday between New York and Washington to deal with higher passenger flows stemming from uncertainty over air shuttle service.
Greyhound Lines Inc. deployed 200 extra buses on the East Coast and added 30 express routes between New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia and Providence, R.I.
Greyhound spokeswoman Liz Hale said the bus company’s Eastern Seaboard ridership was up 15 percent Friday through Sunday.
″We’re getting spillover because of the weather shutting down some of the airports and passengers who aren’t able to travel on Eastern anymore,″ she said.
At LaGuardia, Mary Doble, a passenger on the 10 a.m. plane from Boston, said there were about 40 people aboard her flight. Officials said the generally-filled 6 a.m. shuttle to Washington drew only five or six passengers.
″We had eight stewardesses serving 40 people. They were very attentive and the service was superb,″ Doble said.
Pan American World Airways doubled its rush hour schedule to offer shuttles every half hour instead of every hour. It expected twice its normal passenger load.