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SCOTT JAGOW: The flight attendants at Northwest Airlines have put off their plans to strike.They had vowed to begin random walkouts starting tomorrow night, but the union says the security concerns at airports right now take precedence. This gives the airline a 10-day reprieve, but if Northwest doesn’t reach a deal during that time, it could be facing the end. Jeff Tyler reports.
JEFF TYLER: Northwest executives say a strike by flight attendants could push the airline into liquidation.
University of Portland professor Richard Gritta agrees.
RICHARD GRITTA: “It’s quite possible that if the unions decide that they’re not going play the game, that it’s over.”
Flight attendants won’t sign off on a new contract that calls for almost $200 million in concessions.
Having declared bankruptcy last September, Northwest has reached agreements concerning its financial restructuring with its other unions.
Gritta says the flight attendants are the last holdouts.
GRITTA:“When people get discouraged and depressed enough, and frustrated enough, they can do things which are not necessarily in their best interests. They may decide that they’d rather see the company fail than keep their jobs and grovel for higher pay checks.”
Should the company survive this standoff, Northwest could emerge from bankruptcy sometime in the first half of next year.
I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.
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