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Public Papers - 1989

Statement on the Labor Dispute Between Eastern Airlines and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers


The National Mediation Board has recommended that I appoint an emergency board before March 4, pursuant to section 10 of the Railway Labor Act, as amended, to investigate the dispute between Eastern Airlines and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. I have decided not to accept this recommendation.

The National Mediation Board has for many months attempted unsuccessfully to bring the parties to an agreement, and I have no reason to believe that an additional investigation or the 60-day delay that would be entailed would produce such an agreement. In light of the well-publicized threats of a strike and related activities, the Department of Transportation will monitor the situation and will, in addition, take whatever steps are needed to protect the safety of the traveling public.

I urge responsible labor officials not to try to influence resolution of this dispute by disrupting the Nation's transportation systems through secondary boycotts against uninvolved parties. Such boycotts would unfairly burden millions of citizens, not only preventing necessary travel but also affecting shipment of consumer goods and the ability of many workers to earn a living. For these reasons, secondary boycotts are not permitted in any other sector of the economy.

Accordingly, if secondary boycotts threaten to disrupt essential transportation services, I will submit, and urge that Congress promptly enact, legislation making it unlawful to use secondary picketing and boycotts against neutral carriers. We cannot allow an isolated labor-management dispute to disrupt the Nation's entire transportation system.

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