Airline Strike Goes Forward As Busy Week Of Trips Looms

STRIKEBOUND American Airlines assuaged some passengers' frustration by adding reservations staff and giving better information on flight delays and cancellations.

But the Association of Professional Flight Attendants' strike entered its fourth day yesterday, heading into the year's busiest travel week.

The 21,000-member union walked after a year of contract negotiations broke down over pay, health benefits, staffing, and scheduling. The planned 11-day strike was the biggest against a national airline since 1989.

The union estimated that by Saturday, 20 percent of American's flights were canceled. More than 60 percent that took off carried no passengers, spokesman Alan Fahringer said.

The union also estimated that 95 percent of flight attendants have honored picket lines.

But airline spokesman Al Becker said more flight attendants were going to work, so more passengers were likely to make trips. Rollins admits to lying

GOP consultant Ed Rollins says he made up a story about suppressing black-voter turnout in the New Jersey gubernatorial election to torment Democratic rival James Carville.

But on Friday he conceded advising a campaign worker to tell black ministers disenchanted with Gov. Jim Florio (D) that they could help Christine Todd Whitman's campaign by not preaching for Mr. Florio.

Mr. Rollins said he made the suggestions to counter alleged Florio campaign threats that state aid to urban programs would be in jeopardy unless black leaders cooperated with the Democrat - an argument based on Ms. Whitman's promise to cut income taxes and to substantially reduce state spending.

Rollins added that he regretted fallout from his remarks.

Meanwhile, GOP attorneys urged that the investigation be closed. Whitman, for her part, has denied voter suppression.

But Democrats and black leaders said Saturday that Rollins's statements should not end probes.

Democrats don't buy Rollins's story. And they are pursuing a lawsuit seeking to overturn Florio's defeat.

Democrats also denied Rollins's assertion that the Florio campaign pressured blacks.

Black leaders say they have no evidence that the GOP made offers to ministers, who were outraged by Rollins's remarks.

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