Friend of Labor

updated 05/16/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/16/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

HIS FIANCÉE (ALLS HIM A "LIKE, NINE-to-five" guy. Carmine Palazzo, a vice president of the movie and TV technicians' union, IATSE, says of coworker Lyle Trachtenberg, "He's a great organizer, and he has a great love for the labor movement." If Liz Taylor can marry a truck driver, Whoopi Goldberg can certainly try for a life of blue-collar bliss with Trachtenberg, 40, the union rep to whom she is, suddenly, engaged to be married.

Goldberg, 44, who flashed a diamond ring when she made the announcement on CNN's Larry King Live last week, has known her intended since October. She met Trachtenberg, whose first marriage ended in divorce, on the Los Angeles set of her latest movie, a romantic comedy called Corrina, Corrina. He came there on IATSE business (hoping to get the producers to sign off on basic union conditions), and she, being favorably disposed toward labor, persuaded her bosses to speak to him. "I don't know if there were sparks," Goldberg has said, "but he definitely had my attention."

Trachtenberg, thanks to Goldberg, prevailed. Grateful, he decided the union should take her out to dinner. But by the time the day arrived, he says, "it eventually narrowed down to just me taking her out."

Obviously, things went well and continue to do so. Producer Paula Mazur, who negotiated with Trachtenberg, ran into the couple several weeks ago and comments, "They seemed very happy together, very good." What's less certain is when the wedding might take place. "Down-the-line soon, maybe '95," says Whoopi. From that point on, says the actress, they will be "Berg and Berg."

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