Eastern Airlines' unions met with the carrier's new management Saturday, trying to agree on a new contract before a Tuesday deadline set by Peter Ueberroth, who has agreed to buy the company if the unions will make enough concessions.
Representatives of the striking International Association of Machinists participated along with negotiators for the Air Line Pilots Association and the flight attendants union, both of which have refused to cross picket lines.It was not known whether Ueberroth, the former commissioner of major league baseball, attended personally because reporters were not allowed inside the IAM headquarters in Washington where the talks were being held.
Russ McGarry, district vice president of the IAM, said all parties to the talks have been ordered not to discuss the meeting.
"I can confirm they are meeting but there is a news blackout and they (union leaders) are not letting anybody say anything," McGarry said from strike headquarters in Miami. "That is by order of the international. Sometimes that's the only way you can get anything accomplished."
Ueberroth announced Thursday he had agreed to by Eastern Airlines from Texas Air Corp. and its chairman, Frank Lorenzo. The deal reportedly is worth $463.9 million and would give Ueberroth's group a 30 percent stake in Eastern, with another 30 percent to be controlled by the unions and the remaining 40 percent by new investors.