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USAir threatened with strike

Negotiators for USAir and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers were holding talks Sunday night to head off a strike threatened by thousands of ground personnel today.

The airline said it had a contingency plan to operate "a substantial amount of normal flight schedules" in the event the union members strike as threatened with the start of today's shifts.

USAir is the dominant airline at Tampa International Airport, with 50 daily jet departures from Tampa. USAir Express flights _ about 35 daily turbo-prop flights operated by separate companies _ would not be affected by a strike, company officials have said.

Spokeswoman Susan Young suggested people holding tickets call USAir offices starting at 3 a.m. today _ by which time the airline would have firm information on the number of flights it will operate in the event of a strike.