Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Talks Go on as Mac Strike Sets Record

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Talks Go on as Mac Strike Sets Record

Article excerpt

For the second consecutive day, parties to the Machinists strike at McDonnell Douglas Corp. met Thursday in a marathon session on Capitol Hill. The lack of a breakthrough meant that the strike has surpassed the company's 93-day stoppage of 1975.

But the duration of the discussions was seen as encouraging by some.

"The fact that the people have been talking the last two days at such length, I'd have to take as a positive sign," McDonnell spokesman Tom Williams said Thursday evening. The meeting began at 11 a.m. (10 a.m. St. Louis time) and broke for dinner at 7:30 p.m. It resumed about an hour later and continued past 11:30 p.m. For much of the day Thursday, the participants were huddled in a room in the basement of the Capitol Building behind opaque glass doors with a sign reading: "Meeting in Progress: Do Not Disturb." Some left periodically for a few minutes, generally two at a time, to sit in a vacant room across the hall and go over points before quickly returning to the meeting. The conversation behind the closed doors was muffled but intense. Two Machinist officials from St. Louis flew in to attend the meeting - Gerald Oulson and Michael Schoen, the top leaders from Machinists District 837. One source close to the negotiations said the two had been invited because, "the decision will be made back (in St. Louis) . . . These guys have to buy in." Any agreement would have to be ratified by the membership. The groups were called together last week by Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, D-Mo., in an attempt to pave the way to renew negotiations, which broke off three weeks ago amid heated feelings on both sides. "They're taking this literally on an hour-by-hour basis, moving slowly but doing the best they can to get this resolved," Gephardt spokesman Matt Frankel said. The strike, currently the nation's largest, began June 5. …

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