High noon at Northwest

Marketplace Staff Jul 17, 2006
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High noon at Northwest

Marketplace Staff Jul 17, 2006
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TEXT OF STORY

TESS VIGELAND: Back stateside, passengers of Northwest Airlines could be in for a wild ride today. The bankrupt carrier is locked in a labor dispute with its flight attendants that could lead to a unique form of “chaos” later today. Larry Schooler explains.


LARRY SCHOOLER: Starting today Northwest Airlines is free to impose wage and benefit concessions on its flight attendants.

A bankruptcy judge gave Northwest the green light as part of reorganization efforts, but flight attendants have threatened to strike back with surprise walkouts on select flights. It’s a job action they call CHAOS, an acronym for “Create Havoc Around Our System.”

Transportation expert Richard Gritta at the University of Portland says the scenario could backfire for both sides.

RICHARD GRITTA: People are gonna say, look, I’m not booking Northwest because I don’t know if I’m gonna get where I’m going. The disturbance to the system is going to create anger among travelers, who say ‘why are we the victims when this is a management-labor fight.’

And that could drive Northwest out of business-and its workers onto unemployment lines.

I’m Larry Schooler for Marketplace.

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