Northwest, Delta Talks Fail to Yield Deal

Pilots continue to talk strike

The arbitrators would have several weeks from the end of the hearings to make a decision, and rank-and-file pilots have not yet voted on a strike authorization, meaning no strike is imminent. However, Lee Moak, a pilots union leader, said late Wednesday the pilots would vote on strike authorization due to "management's continued intransigence at the negotiating table."

He said voting would begin on Monday and last four weeks.

Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest said the tentative deal with flight attendants gave it the $195 million in annual savings it sought, toward a goal of $1.4 billion from all its workers. The union said Northwest dropped its demand to use more non-U.S. flight attendants on overseas flights, which had been at the core of its strike threat.

"That was a big stand, because Northwest (was) the first carrier trying to get foreign nationals, foreign workers on the airplane," said PFAA President Guy Meek. "Everybody was watching us, and PFAA was successful in keeping them off."

The flight attendant deal still must be accepted by union leaders and approved by a vote of the 9,700 members of the Professional Flight Attendants Association. Northwest ground workers are also voting on a tentative agreement.

He declined to discuss details, but said the pay cut is "pretty close" to the 20.7 percent temporary cut flight attendants took earlier in the bankruptcy process.

"At least it's a deal that can go out and the members can speak," Meek said after the all-night bargaining session. "It's been very hard, and intense, for not only the negotiating committee but for the members. They go to work every day not knowing what's going to happen. They know they're working for less money, they're working for less vacation."


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