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TEXAS AIR GUILTY OF BREACHING '82 LABOR CONTRACT WITH 46 PILOTS

A Denver district court jury has found Texas Air Corp. guilty of breaching a 1982 labor contract with 46 former Continental Airlines pilots.

"This is a big moral victory for the pilots," said Kathleen Schaden, their attorney. "A lot of them have been black-balled . . . they've lost their jobs, their money, their lives, and no one would listen."Jurors decided Houston-based Texas Air, Continental's parent company, violated the labor agreement with the pilots because it did not support them in September 1983 when Continental declared bankruptcy. Many pilots left their jobs or were furloughed, eventually garnering retirement benefits, because they did not want to work without a contract.

Judge Daniel Sparr still must decide several key legal issues before a second trial is held to determine the amount of money damages, if any. These defense issues include determining whether the contract was valid after the bankruptcy.

Sparr said some seasoned pilots will seek up to $750,000 apiece.