Skip to main content

John Chaknis Eastern Airlines strike collection

Identifier: L2000-09

Scope and Content of the Collection

The John Chaknis Eastern Airlines strike collection, 1986-1990, consists of correspondence, strike updates, newsletters, newsclippings, flyers, legislative documents, briefings, a research survey, audiocassettes and videocassettes created during the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) strike against Eastern Air Lines. The collection was accumulated by John Chaknis, pilot for Eastern Air Lines and member of the ALPA, and reflects strike issues from the pilots' perspective.

Correspondence from Eastern Air Lines executives provides information about the financial situation of the airline and their view of the strike (1986-1989). Correspondence from ALPA and Eastern pilots provide information regarding events, concerns and issues leading up to the beginning of the strike as well as information and updates during the strike. Additional correspondence from Congress concerning airline deregulation and labor-management problems at Eastern Air Lines provides additional views of the strike.

Mailgram Updates (1986-1990), sent by ALPA and by Eastern Air Lines, provide frequent updates, especially during the strike. Eastern Airlines Council Minutes (1986-1989) contain agenda and meeting minutes of ALPA's Council #7. ALPA newsletters contain company, union, strike and mediation updates.

Newsletters, including Eastern Pilots' Checklist, Council #7's The Natural, Family Awareness, Eastern Falcon, Straight and Level, and the Transport Workers Union Express contain company and union information, editorials, and coverage of strike issues. Newsclippings, flyers, press releases, and other documents contain strike information and viewpoints from a variety of sources.

The videocassettes include panel discussions with union leaders; situational updates and other strike-related presentations; excerpts from the Subcommittee on Aviation hearing on Eastern Air Lines (1989); senate testimony; teleconferences; and other instructional and informative videocassettes for striking Eastern Air Lines workers.


  • 1986-1990


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.
Permission must be sought to reproduce, in whole or in part, materials created by the Air Line Pilots Association. All other requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

History of the John Chaknis Eastern Airlines strike collection

In 1986, Houston-based Texas Air Corporation acquired Eastern Air Lines. At the time, Eastern was one of the nation's leading commercial airline carriers. Eastern Air Lines executives, led by Chief Executive Officer Frank Borman, had agreed to the sale because Eastern was facing financial hardship following federal deregulation of the airline industry and had ongoing disputes with labor organizations. Upon acquiring the airline, CEO Frank Lorenzo began the sale of assets of Eastern Air Lines, prompting protest from Eastern employees.

The Eastern Air Lines strike began on March 4, 1989 with walkout of mechanics and ramp workers represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW). These employees were soon joined by pilots represented by the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) and flight attendants represented by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 553.

Following the start of the strike, Lorenzo placed Eastern Air Lines under bankruptcy protection, using non-union employees to carry on the work of striking workers. However, with the surge in the price of aviation fuel following the onset of the Gulf War and unable to meet its operating costs, the airline further deteriorated financially. On January 18, 1991, Eastern Air Lines ceased operations. The strike lasted for 686 days.


5.6 Linear Feet (in 11 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collections contains correspondence, strike updates, newsletters, newsclippings, flyers, legislative documents, briefings, a research survey, audiocassettes and videocassette pertaining to the Air Line Pilots Association strike against Eastern Air Lines, 1989-1991.

Acquisition Information

Donated by John Chaknis, July 2000.

Related Archival Materials

Related Materials in This Repository

  1. W. J. Usery, Jr. papers, 1940; 1952-2004 (L1985-12)
  2. Carolyn Lee Wills collection of Eastern Airlines' Southern Region Public Relations Office records, 1927-2008 (L1986-27)
  3. Francis Q. Vogtner Eastern Airlines collection, 1964-1989 (L2012-26)
  4. John Sugg collection, 1985-1991 (L2005-14)
  5. Frank Borman papers, 1961-1989 (L2005-16)
  6. James R. Ashlock collection, 1938-1991 (L2009-10)
  7. Martha Hamilton collection, 1988-1991 (L2013-01)
  8. International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers records, 1891-2002 (L1992-14)

Processing Information

Processed by George Rounds at the file level, May 2008.
John Chaknis Eastern Airlines Strike Collection:
A Guide to the Collection at Georgia State University Library
Georgia State University Library
June 12, 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • June 2008: EAD created by Traci JoLeigh Drummond.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)