Cheers, Anger As Union Marches Outside Eastern
MIAMI (AP) _ Police moved in after strikers clashed with Eastern Airlines workers during a boisterous union farewell to ousted boss Frank Lorenzo. One union member was injured.
Scuffles broke out when Eastern workers crossed the Machinists picket lines during a 3 p.m. shift change Wednesday. Hundreds of union members were marching outside Eastern corporate headquarters, as they have for more than 13 months.
Dozens of Metro-Dade County and Miami Springs police officers waded into the crowd. One union member, his head bleeding after apparently being hit by a nightstick, was taken away for treatment in a Metro rescue vehicle.
“All he did was call a scab what he is - a scab,” Charles E. Bryan, president of Machinists District 100. He said two police officers on horseback clubbed the unidentified union member.
“That’s unconscionable,” Bryan said.
Metro-Dade police spokeswoman Lizette Williams said two union members were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Of the wounded striker, she said there was ″some controversy about how he was injured, whether the gentleman fell or what happened.″
She estimated the crowd of demonstrators at 450 people.
Martin Shugrue, former executive at Pan American and Continental Airlines, was appointed by a federal judge as a trustee to run Eastern, still owned by the Lorenzo-headed Texas Air Corp.
Striking Eastern Machinists, who walked out March 4, 1989, were joined in their rally by some 200 members of the union’s international who were meeting at Hollywood’s Diplomat Hotel.
″It’s kind of a bittersweet type of thing,″ said George Kourpias, the union’s international president. “It’s bitter because it took 13 months but it’s sweet because Lorenzo is out.”
Kourpias said Shugrue’s pledge to bring better labor relations to Eastern was encouraging, and that Shugrue has a reputation for fairness.
Eastern spokesman Robin Matell had no comment about the rally.