Northwest Airlines Corp. filed an appeal as expected on Friday aimed at blocking a strike by flight attendants that could begin as early as Aug. 25.
Northwest has said a strike would be illegal. But on Thursday U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper, who is overseeing Northwest's Chapter 11 reorganization, said labor law gives him no power to block a strike.
Northwest spokesman Bill Mellon said Friday that the airline is seeking either an expedited appeal or an injunction while its appeal proceeds. A clerk in the U.S. District for the Southern District of New York confirmed the appeal had been filed, however copies were not available Friday afternoon.
It looked like any judicial intervention would be last-minute. A hearing on the matter isn't scheduled until 1 p.m. EDT Aug. 25 in federal court in New York, just nine hours before flight attendants have threatened to begin random, unannounced work stoppages.
With a judge's permission, Northwest imposed pay cuts and new work rules on flight attendants on July 31 after those workers rejected a negotiated agreement for the second time.
Both sides have said they're willing to negotiate, although Northwest has not moved from its demand for $195 million a year in savings. David Borer, general counsel for the Association of Flight Attendants, said no talks have been scheduled.
"It's not a surprise that they appealed, but it's unfortunate that they continue to be more focused on the legal process than on the negotiations," Borer said.
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U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero is scheduled to consider the appeal at a hearing Friday, hours before the union says it will begin scattered work stoppages.
Under Gropper's ruling, "the flight attendants won't have any claim" unless they reach a new deal by the end of the bankruptcy.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero overruled a bankruptcy court judge's decision to let a strike occur.
A union representative stated that the present security concerns should take precendence over all else.