Picketing Turns Nasty; Bryan Still Hopeful
MIAMI (AP) _ A clash between Eastern Airlines pickets and newly hired pilots resulted in a striking pilot’s arrest and a Machinists leader being placed in handcuffs.
The pilot was charged with disorderly conduct Thursday after a melee in which Eastern pickets claimed they were threatened with guns by people they believed to be strike-breaking pilots.
Pilots union spokesman Hank Weber said 30 to 40 strikers were picketing early Thursday outside the Doral Country Club and Hotel, where some pilots hired by Eastern during the strike are being housed, when people in two cars waved revolvers at them.
In the second incident, Weber said, pilots stopped the car and one pilot kicked in its door before it sped away. He said picketers turned the car’s license tag number over to police.
Pilot John Sorensen was charged with disorderly conduct and Frank Ortis, vice president of Machinists Local 702, was handcuffed but released without arrest after talking with police.
Eastern spokesman Robin Matell said the company was still gathering information.
Separately, Weber said the pilots want a trained National Mediation Board mediator, not bankruptcy examiner David Shapiro, to oversee contract talks. Eastern on Wednesday withdrew its request that the Bankruptcy Court terminate the pilots contract and suggested Shapiro serve as mediator.
″Eastern may want that, but we need a trained mediator,″ Weber said.
The pilots had asked for an NMB mediator and reported no progress after talks last week under Shapiro’s auspices. Eastern, a unit of Texas Air Corp., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization March 9, five days after the Machinists struck when mediation failed and the pilots and flight attendants unions joined the strike.