In 2003, approximately
2,000 Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA)-represented
Northwest Airlines (NWA) employees were furloughed in response to the
effects of the Iraq war and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
outbreak. AMFA filed grievances claiming that all these “force majeure”
furloughs were in violation of the collective bargaining agreement between
AMFA and NWA. The recent arbitration decision by the Railway Labor Act (RLA) System
Board found that approximately 1,850 of the 2,000 furloughs were justified
under the collective bargaining agreement. The Board also found no basis
for recall for the 1,850 furloughed employees.
Concerning the estimated 150 furloughs that were not sustained, Northwest
will honor the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.
Northwest furloughed approximately 650 AMFA-represented employees as a
result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. AMFA also filed
grievances in that case with the RLA System Board, which ruled that the
9/11- related furloughs were similarly justified under the collective