A union representing 12,000 Eastern Airlines employees seeks to block the carrier from eliminating service in 14 cities in a lawsuit that claims cutbacks will eventually destroy the firm.

The suit requests a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order against the cutbacks in service, scheduled to take effect Aug. 31. Eastern announced the changes, along with a work force reduction of 4,000, last Friday.Unless the cutbacks are blocked, the suit says, Eastern will "embark on a program that will significantly increase its recurring losses and lead to the ultimate destruction of the carrier."