Professor Lester Thurow's theories regarding the ramifications of the flight attendant strike on TWA ("Winning the Battle, Losing the War," April 27) bear little resemblance to reality. The strike continues, and about 4,500 career flight attendants at TWA have lost their jobs.
They have been permanently replaced by new hires. To date, only 1,100 of the 6,500 flight attendants have crossed the picket lines. If the company did not have the ability to replace us, or if the International Assn. of Machinists had been able to sympathy strike with us, we may have won this strike. However, the union knew before calling the strike that we could be permanently replaced. The union has also known since 1982 that the IAM has "no-strike" language in its contract and would be enjoined from honoring picket lines.
So Icahn easily won the battle. But will he lose the war? Contrary to Thurow's theory, this airline is not made up of "disgruntled, surly" employees and "serfs" who are going to sabotage the operation.
Indeed, the employees now working for TWA--whether they're new hires, returning flight attendants ("scabs," in the jargon of the union), or other career employees who have already made concessions to the company--realize that this is probably TWA's last chance for survival, and are almost universally pulling together to keep this airline flying.