Thu, Jun 29, 2006
Airline, Union Have One Last Chance To Reach Deal
In a move that could
either put a final end to months of contemptuous negotiations...
or, result in a crippling strike... on Thursday, US Bankruptcy
Court Judge Allan Gropper granted Northwest Airlines' request to
allow the bankrupt carrier to toss out its existing contracts with
its flight attendants.
Mindful of the possible consequences of the decision, however,
Gropper also stayed implementation of the order for 14 days, so
that additional negotiations may take place between the airline and
the Professional Flight Attendants Association.
As Aero-News reported, if an
agreement is not reached within that timeframe, the airline would
be authorized to implement the terms of the tentative agreement
that it reached with the PFAA on March 1, which the flight
attendants failed to ratify.
"Northwest bargained in good faith with representatives of
PFAA," said Mike Becker, senior vice president of human resources
and labor relations at Northwest. "In March, we reached a
consensual agreement with the union's negotiating committee whom
the flight attendants chose to represent them. The tentative
agreement was the result of extensive negotiations involving
substantial compromise on the part of Northwest Airlines and PFAA's
own negotiating committee."
The flight attendants'
union represents the last holdouts in Northwest's attempts to cut
costs through permanent wage and benefit reduction agreements.
Northwest has reached agreements with the Air Line Pilots
Association (ALPA), the International Association of Machinists and
Aerospace Workers (IAM), Aircraft Technical Support Association
(ATSA), the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), and the
Northwest Airlines Meteorologists Association (NAMA).
The PFAA has threatened to strike if Northwest imposes new pay
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