Pilots striking in sympathy with Eastern Airlines' machinists union are meeting this week to decide whether to follow their leaders' unanimous vote to stay off the job. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) leadership voted Saturday to continue its five-month strike, but called local membership meetings to discuss alternatives that include returning to work.

The first closed meeting was held here Sunday night.

The options include:

Continuing the strike and support of the buyout effort by Chicago options trader Joseph Ritchie.

Negotiating a settlement with Eastern management. Among the union's chief goals have been job security for its 3,600 Eastern members and the unionization of pilots at Continental Airlines, Eastern's sister carrier, also owned by Texas Air Corporation.

Eastern, which has been following a rebuilding plan without its unions, says it will need 1,700 pilots. Eastern says 380 ALPA pilots have crossed the picket line, more than 300 newly hired pilots have completed training, and 700 more are in training.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.