El Al Strike Averted

After four days of round-the-clock negotiations, an agreement has been reached settling a labor dispute that would have stopped EL AL’s operations at Kennedy Airport. The dispute involved some 130 workers who are members of District 100 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) AFL-CIO.

A year ago, negotiations between District 100 and El Al’s management started for renewal of their contract. Negotiations came to a halt on Aug. 22 when the IAM decided on a 30-day cooling-off period with a strike set to begin Sept. 22. At this point, the Histadrut representative in the United States, Uzi Bloch, was invited to attempt a compromise, On Sept, 17 at a meeting in the IAM’s office here, union officials and Bloch drew up a set of proposals. After intense deliberations an agreement was reached and ratified by the union membership yesterday.

Sol Iaccio, general vice-president of IAM, said on signing the agreement, “It is mainly because of Histadrut that we did it.” The participation of the Histadrut representative at the request of the American union was viewed as a manifestation of the high regard for the Israeli labor organization. The signing of the contract will be marked at the AFL-CIO convention in San Francisco next week where Yeruham Meshel, secretary general of Histadrut, will meet with IAM international president Floyd Smith.

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