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Workers Come Back, Airline Plans Bigger Summer Schedule

March 29, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ Thousands of disgruntled Pan Am ground workers returned to their jobs after a monthlong strike Friday and the airline announced plans to expand summer service this year.

In Washington, meanwhile, negotiators for Pan American World Airways and 6,000 flight attendants resumed efforts to reach a contract settlement before a Monday strike deadline.

At least 3,000 of the 5,800 striking Transport Workers Union members went back to work Friday, said Jeff Kriendler, a Pan Am vice president in New York. They were joined by an equal number of Teamsters ticketing and check-in agents who had honored picket lines, he said.

TWU Vice President Mike Bakalo said the majority of the workers were ″hostile″ after ratifying a concession-filled contract this week under threat of dismissal.

″There are a lot of angry people,″ Bakalo said. ″That won’t keep them from performing their duties as professionals.″

The airline has postponed implementing its summer schedule from April 28 until June 14 because of the ground workers’ strike. However, it plans to operate 425 daily flights to six continents this summer, compared to 400 in 1984, Kriendler said.

″We have enough temporary replacements lined up that we can proceed with the expansion even if the flight attendants strike,″ he said.

In Washington, negotiators for Pan Am and the Independent Union of Flight Attendants continued to bargain Friday. A National Mediation Board spokesman said bargaining would continue Saturday.

The union has set a strike deadline for midnight Sunday.

″At this stage, both sides are very remindful of their responsibility and are working hard to reach an agreement before the deadline,″ said the board spokesman, who asked not to be identified.

Pan Am has offered its attendants a 12 percent raise over three years, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The talks have deadlocked over other issues, negotiators said.

Like the ground workers, the flight attendants have been asked to accept reduced health and pension benefits and to give up their stock option and profit-sharing plans.

Pan Am had a net operating loss of $206.8 million in 1984, and has cut more than 8,000 jobs from the payroll over the past four years. The company’s stock, which sold for about $40 a share in 1979, currently hovers around $4 a share.

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