Northwest Files to Reject Contract, Prevent Strike

Northwest Airlines said it was disappointed that its flight attendants, represented by the Professional Flight Attendants Association (PFAA), failed to ratify a tentative contract agreement reached in early March between the company and the union. The tentative agreement was a product of extensive negotiations involving substantial compromise on the part of Northwest Airlines and PFAA's negotiating committee, according to Mike Becker, senior vice president of human resources and labor relations. He also said that the now-rejected agreement represented the flight attendants' best hope for preserving their jobs. He also said that Northwest must continue to move forward with its restructuring efforts in light of ongoing losses, persistent record-high fuel costs and the urgent need to realize $1.4 billion in annual labor cost savings. That said, on Tuesday, Northwest asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to rule on the company's motion to reject the existing flight attendant labor agreement and permit Northwest to impose new contract terms. Northwest also announced that it is filing a motion with the Bankruptcy Court asking for a preliminary injunction to prevent a threatened strike by PFAA. Northwest has repeatedly stated that a work stoppage by its flight attendants is unlawful under the Railway Labor Act, which governs airline labor issues.

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