Ground Crews Back on the Job at USAir

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GROUND crews for USAir were back on the job Monday after a week-old strike that ended with their approval of a new wage-cutting contract.

Members of the Machinists union began returning Sunday night and a full schedule of 2,712 flights was planned Monday, airline spokesman John Bronson said.

The contract, ratified Saturday, includes a one-year pay cut of 3.5 percent but prevents the hiring of nonunion workers to handle baggage and de-ice planes.

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The Machinists knew they had to make some concessions on wages to keep their jobs, a union spokesman said. USAir, the nation's sixth-largest airline, lost more than $700 million last year.

"I think reality's setting in that the economy's really bad and we're going to have to take some big hits," said Gerald R. Sandoval, a spokesman for a Machinists local that represents 275 USAir workers in Indianapolis.

The agreement ending the strike was reached Thursday after a 24-hour bargaining session.

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