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Eastern History Needed

Newjetjockey

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For those of you who were around in the Eastern days I have questions about how the end went down. We all know about the list and the folks on it. After flying with several people on the list and not on the list, I have learned that there are several levels of scabs at Eastern. Could people who were around to watch the Airline crumble please let me know if I have the story right?

The first level was called the "Golden 200." These were the mostly management pilots who crossed the picket line immediately. They were more that happy to help Lorenzo break the union.

The second level is the people who were not employed at Eastern before the strike. These people crossed the picket line to get a job. They too were more than happy to help Lorenzo break the union and they got a great job while at it.

The third level was the people who went back to work after the strike was ongoing. I think these were called "crawl backs."

The forth level were people who went back to work after the local MEC said to go back to work. Apparently the Eastern MEC Chairman told everyone in August of '89 to go back to work. Some did and some did not.

The forth level are the people I have questions about but tend to sympathize with. Do I have my facts correct? Are they really able to justify “crossing the line?” The people in this level don’t actually consider themselves scabs. They say the local MEC told them to go back to work. They say ALPA denies any participation in the scab list and did nothing to get many peoples names removed from that list.

Please don’t respond to this post if you just want to vent your hatred for all scabs. I’m just wondering if these guys really have a leg to stand on with their justification for “crossing the line,” or, are they just full of it, and this is just a sob story?
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radarlove

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One guy I know swears his MEC told him to go back to work, so he crossed. Another guy who was walking the picket line during that time said, "No way, nobody was told by ALPA to cross the picket line, that's why there was still a picket line".
 

PCL_128

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I wasn't an EAL pilot, so hopefully some former rEAL guys will come by and add some comments, but I am definitely knowledgeable in ALPA history, and the accounts that many of the guys give that returned to the line during the strike are simply not accurate.

For starters, the EAL MEC never made any sort official statement telling the EAL pilots to return to the line. Captain Bavis, the Master Chairman during most of the strike, started suggesting to pilots that returning might be a good idea, but the governing body of the MEC never issued such a directive.

Many of these guys also claim that ALPA National told them to return to the line. National doesn't get involved in telling pilots to disregard the official direction of their MEC. Before ALPA would do that, they would place the MEC in receivership. The EAL MEC was still very much in charge of the bargaining unit at EAL, and National did not try to override their authority in the situation.

These guys that claim ALPA had nothing to do with the SCAB list are also getting their history wrong. The EAL MEC published multiple updated SCAB lists during the strike. This is nothing new. Captain Behnke himself published a SCAB list during the Century Airlines strike on the front page of the Air Line Pilot Newsletter. The 11th Circuit Court reviewed a case a number of years ago in which a SCAB sought damages from ALPA for including him on the list. One of the Judges speaking for the majority wrote the following (emphasis added):
"the Eastern MEC unanimously adopted a formal resolution to “publish a finalized list of strike breaking pilots at the conclusion of the ALPA sympathy strike” and “ to bring internal union charges under ALPA’s constitution Against ALPA members who crossed the picket lines. Individuals were placed on this list of working pilots only upon receipt of two confirmed reports that they had crossed ALPA picket lines, and after being provided with “an opportunity to refute the allegation” that they had crossed picket lines to fly for Eastern.
Although the "Master List" that most pilots find on the internet today is not officially updated by the Association, it is compiled by someone who also works as an ALPA volunteer, and the EAL pilots listed are all compiled using copies of the official EAL MEC lists from the time.

Basically, if their name is on the list, then their name deserves to be there. The official definition of struck work was well known, and it was never rescinded. Using the excuse that "Jack Bavis told me to go back to work" doesn't fly, because Jack didn't have the authority to unilaterally overrule the official definition that was voted on by the MEC. In fact, Jack was removed by a large majority vote of the MEC soon after he starting hinting that pilots should return to work. The last poll of the EAL strikers showed that they favored continuing the strike by a 2-to-1 margin. This is one of the more creative excuses I've heard from these guys, but it's just that: an excuse.
 

BigMotorToter

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Try reading "Hard Landing" by Thomas Petzinger. One of the best historical books on post deregulation ever written. Lots of stuff about Eastern and all the back room dealings during the strike. He interviewed many of the managment and union members during that fatefull time. It's a great read. I read the whole thing on a 4 day trip.
 

PCL_128

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"Grounded: Frank Lorenzo and the Destruction of Eastern Airlines" is also a good book about the last days of EAL. In depth look at the behind-the-scenes dealings with Boreman, Lorenzo, Bavis, and Bryan.
 

Tomct

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"Grounded: Frank Lorenzo and the Destruction of Eastern Airlines" is also a good book about the last days of EAL. In depth look at the behind-the-scenes dealings with Boreman, Lorenzo, Bavis, and Bryan.


Read that one, pretty sad situation. Sad to think that Eastern would have still been around had it not been for that POS! Good thing he is BANNED for LIFE!
 

Dizel8

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Huh?
PCL_128,

You know what I love about you? You are like one of those born again christians or that preacher who rallied against "alternative lifestyle" yet engaged in it with his masseuse, but then found his "way".

I understand you are upset that you bought your way into this business, I understand this happened before you supposedly "knew". So you went to work for some Eastern scabs, we all know, we get it, but now you come across as some sanctimonious hypocrite, pointng out all the errors of others.

Yes, the Eastern scabs deserves hot oil and tar, but you are not in a position to be the judge, after all, tell us all again how Gulfstream "worked?"

You have done more than your share to drive the job down, maybe once in a blue moon, stop pointing fingers at every one else. I may be the only one, but quite frankly, I find your rhetoric quite tedious. Something about stones and glasshouses!
 
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FmrFreightDog

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Basically, if their name is on the list, then their name deserves to be there. The official definition of struck work was well known, and it was never rescinded. Using the excuse that "Jack Bavis told me to go back to work" doesn't fly, because Jack didn't have the authority to unilaterally overrule the official definition that was voted on by the MEC. In fact, Jack was removed by a large majority vote of the MEC soon after he starting hinting that pilots should return to work. The last poll of the EAL strikers showed that they favored continuing the strike by a 2-to-1 margin. This is one of the more creative excuses I've heard from these guys, but it's just that: an excuse.

FWIW, my father was a rEAL guy. He had a lot of friends who went back to work on the advice of Bavis. He did not. I lived through that whole thing at an age where I was able to understand the subtle nature of human nature, if you will. There are a lot of guys on a list somewhere that went back to work sometime between when Bavis said, "It might be a good idea to go back to work" and when Jack was removed. They are labeled "scab" just like the street hires. They were subject to the same "clicker". (If you don't know what I'm talking about when I say "clicker", you're too young to even begin to participate in this discussion.)

PCL, I've agreed with you many times before, but I must disagree with you on this one. It wasn't as simple as you make it out to be. Believe me, I lived through the block parties and the arguments about who was right when the union was more or less tearing itself apart. I lived through EAL pilots who showed up at my parents' house week after week slowly disappearing (my Dad was a big ALPA guy... hosted lots of family awareness events)

Guys that crossed the line right away and off the street hires be damned, but I refuse to condemn the guys who went back to work in the confusion of the moment. I refuse to condemn them, because my father refuses to condemn them. He was the one who really lived through it after all. He was the one who mentored them and tried to convince them to stay the course when the MEC was largely silent. Throughout most of that ordeal, Bavis was an icon to those guys. I can't fault them for going back to work on his advice, even if his advice was colored by his own motivations.

Unless you actually lived this strike (and I mean LIVED this strike, not observed it....), don't be so quick to judge the people who did. Those of us who truly lived through it understand that there's much more to it than scab vs. non-scab. As I said, feel free to label the management guys and the off-the-street guys scab, but realize that, towards the end, there were a lot of guys who got branded with the "scab" nametag because they were acting on the best advice of their leadership.

I don't think you can possibly understand the confusion that existed for the last few months of that strike. It seemed like every day was a different directive, regardless of what the "official" ALPA history books say. To say that, "if their name is on the list, then their name deserves to be there." shows nothing more than your true lack of understaning of what really happened during Eastern's demise.
 
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180ToTheMarker

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PCL_128,

You know what I love about you? You are like one of those born again christians or that preacher who rallied against "alternative lifestyle" yet engaged in it with his masseuse, but then found his "way".

I understand you are upset that you bought your way into this business, I understand this happened before you supposedly "knew". So you went to work for some Eastern scabs, we all know, we get it, but now you come across as some sanctimonious hypocrite, pointng out all the errors of others.

Yes, the Eastern scabs deserves hot oil and tar, but you are not in a position to be the judge, after all, tell us all again how Gulfstream "worked?"

You have done more than your share to drive the job down, maybe once in a blue moon, stop pointing fingers at every one else. I may be the only one, but quite frankly, I find your rhetoric quite tedious. Something about stones and glasshouses!

So you've never made a mistake and learned the hard way? Or changed your views on something after learning all the facts?
 

PCL_128

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FmrFreightDog, thanks for the input. Although I didn't live through the EAL mess first hand as a family member of a striker, I was able to see it pretty close since several of the close family friends were EAL strikers. Yes, I'm aware that many of the strikers provide distinctions between different groups of crossers. The opinions on this are very wide. Some guys don't hold as much contempt for the guys that crawled back, even before Bavis gave the go-ahead, as they do for the guys that crossed at the beginning or the guys that were newhires. I know one rEAL striker that doesn't hold any hard feelings towards any of the scabs, including the guys that crossed proudly on the first day. Then there are other guys that think you're contemptible even if you crawled back at the very end with the blessing of Jack Bavis. The opinions are wide and varied, even among the guys that walked the line until the very last day.

The point of my post was to point out some of the inaccuracies that have been going around about what the EAL MEC and ALPA National did during the end of the strike. I believe this post probably originated because of a debate going on among some guys at AirTran right now because of a guy that's running for NPA President who's name appears on the list. The justification that's being given is that he crossed the line because ALPA National and the EAL MEC gave permission at the end of '89. That's not really accurate. I think people deserve the full story about what happened in the final months of '89 so that they can make their own determination about whether his crossing was justified or not.
 

pilotyip

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One of my VP reserve buddy's was EAL, group four as it is called, in ground school for 727 F/E at AAL, he says he was told all is well come on back. In 20 yrs at EAL he never made Captain. 1991 was a tuff time for jobs in the US, he went to Saudi to fly pipe line patrol in a twin otter.
 

Publishers

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This whole thing was debated some time ago on this message board. For any of the younger set to think that this was a simple situtation that is not the case. Nor, to most of this board, is it particularly even fair to Frank Lorenzo regardless of what one thinks of him. In a way, it has more to do with Borman's leadership and the course he set the airline on and Charlie Bryans ego. For my money, you can place a good deal more fault with the maintenance department and their union leaders for bringing an airline to its knees. The pilots were more just caught up in the culture and the crap than so worried about their own problems. Lorenzo was more like the vulture circling the dieing carcus than the one causing the death.
In any case, the airline demise caused tremendous hurt on a wide range of people, many of whom never really recovered. Those who would condemn any of the people from Eastern are just as guilty of the same type stupidity that was exhibited daily during the Eastern failure.
 

Sir Innocenti

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Up yours buddy.

I'll be back.

Looking at some of the CEO's running the airlines these days, I will probably start to look appealing to a lot of workers.
Your a piece of s%$t....you rank up there with Hanoi Jane....you think your avatar is soo cute....Little do you really know what went on and how many households were upheaved because of this. Furthermore, you probably lack the intestinal fortitude to even identify yourself as a Lorenzo supporter in person......Go suck a d**k........
 

Cardinal

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......And the several people who comitted suicide as a direct result of Frankie's actions, I can think of two CAL pilots and Al Feldman, FL CEO, just for starters.
 

COpilot

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Your a piece of s%$t....you rank up there with Hanoi Jane....you think your avatar is soo cute....Little do you really know what went on and how many households were upheaved because of this. Furthermore, you probably lack the intestinal fortitude to even identify yourself as a Lorenzo supporter in person......Go suck a d**k........

He's a "spoof"; it's satire...

Do you think Colbert is really a conservative when he's says "Bush is the best Pres. he's ever seen, that the war is the is a great way to spend a trillion dollars"?

He is providing the perspective of how far off the wall Frank really was.
 
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