Flight attendants threaten to strike . . . again

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Northwest Airlines has been in a tug-of-war with its flight attendants for some time. Now it wants to force them to accept a cost-cutting contract. This comes after attendants rejected a deal with the airlines. This is the second time the employees have said no to Northwest. Annie Baxter says this could lead to a strike.


ANNIE BAXTER: Fifty-five percent of the flight attendants who voted rejected the agreement with Northwest. But within a few hours of that news breaking, the bankrupt airline imposed its desired wages and work rules, anyway.

The rejected contract sought $195 million in concessions. Flight attendants said the deal would've gouged their overall take-home pay by as much as 40 percent.

The union says it will now consider implementing a so-called choas strike, which involves random work stoppages.

But aviation analyst Barbara Beyer says a strike could backfire.

BARBARA BEYER: Northwest has been basically been fairly ruthless traditionally, for years and years and years and years, being hard-nosed about replacing strikers.

Beyer says there are lots of experienced flight attendants who've been furloughed at other airlines who'd rush to fill jobs at Northwest.

In St. Paul, Minn., I'm Annie Baxter for Marketplace.

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