Was Eastern Airlines shut down because of Frank Lorenzo?

I am trying to get a timeline for Eastern Airlines and why it shut down.
Asked Apr 12, 2012
Unquestionably labor unrest played a huge role in Eastern Airlines' final days. Lorenzo's lockout of the mechanics union (IAM) and the subsequent sympathy strikes by the Transport Worker's Union became more than the organization could overcome. Yet Eastern's failure took place during and immediately after the oil price spike of the 1980's, a period when management wasn't hedging oil prices like today. Such an unforeseen addition to their jet fuel costs must have played a role in their downfall also.

Any time negotiations fail, both sides always blame the other for the failure. To blame Lorenzo you have to think the failing business could have continued to pay the higher fuel costs and contract wages after it had sold off the shuttle services to Donald Trump and downsized back to it's Eastern roots. You can blame the unions by saying they should have cooperated with Lorenzo by accepting the pay cuts he demanded. Again, whether individual or collective, employment is a negotiating process. Eastern is a classic example of what happens when labor and management are unable to find enough common ground to move on.

Read Jack E. Robinson's book "Free Fall" for details on the demise of Eastern.
Answered Apr 13, 2012

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