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Issues in suit by United pilots are still up in the air

Ten days of testimony have ended in a lawsuit filed by United Airlines pilots over issues left unresolved following a 29-day strike against the nation's largest air carrier by the Air Line Pilots Association. The lawsuit seeks to resolve the status of pilot trainees who did not cross picket lines, as well as salaries paid to permanent replacement pilots hired during the strike and awards to pilots who continued to work during the strike.

US District Judge Nicholas J. Bua told attorneys for both sides Friday to submit final briefs in the case July 10.

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In other developments, another federal judge ruled Thursday that United may temporarily continue employing 750 flight attendants hired during the strike.

But US District Judge James Parsons said that United must immediately reinstate benefits and seniority accrual for attendants who refused to cross picket lines.

At issue in a lawsuit by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) is United's hiring of replacement flight attendants during the strike and the effect those hirings have on the seniority levels and job assignments of the AFA's 10,000 members at United. A majority of the attendants honored the picket lines when the pilots walked off the job May 17.

The main economic issue in the pilots' strike -- a two-tier wage scale that would put new pilots on a lower pay scale than those already hired -- was resolved last month. A back-to-work agreement wasn't reached until June 14.

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