Twin Cities Airport Prepares for Northwest Airlines Mechanics Strike

Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport is making plans to cope with a strike by Northwest mechanics, which could begin late Friday, airport management said today.

In the event of a labor action, the airport's 80 sworn police officers will begin working 12-hour shifts, instead of their normal eight-hour schedule, Metropolitan Airports Commission Executive Director Jeff Hamiel reportedly told commissioners during a meeting this morning.

Police will also set up an incident command center in the employee parking lot off Post Road, in case high emotions spark clashes, said commission spokesman Patrick Hogan.

The airport is in the process of issuing permits to mechanics who wish to picket or hand out fliers to passengers. And airport staff is ready to bring out cots and mats for any travelers who are stranded or delayed overnight, Hogan said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press