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TWA Flight Attendants' Sickout

Trans World Airlines canceled more than 90 flights and stranded several hundred passengers in St. Louis over the Christmas holiday because of an apparent "sickout" by flight attendants.

A federal judge in New York issued a temporary order on Friday calling for the dozens of flight attendants to return to work in what TWA said is an "illegal work stoppage."

The attendants have been upset over labor negotiations that have left them without a new contract and wages they say are less than those of other major airlines.

The union representing the attendants, the International Association of Machinists, did not return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment Saturday.

An unusually large number of employees based in St. Louis called in sick over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, leaving the airline without enough flight crews, TWA spokesman Jim Brown said.

TWA found hotel rooms for stranded travelers and expected service problems to clear up Saturday, Brown said.

Tony Tedesco and his wife, Adele, spent nearly eight hours of their Christmas at the St. Louis airport before their flight was ready to depart.

"The sad thing is it doesn't get the public behind them whatsoever," Adele Tedesco said. "People have sympathy for anyone who is overworked and underpaid. But not when your memory of Christmas '98 is sitting at the St. Louis airport."

Brown said the cancellations were limited to St. Louis airport.