Northwest workers desend on DC

Hundreds of Northwest Airlines employees arrived in the nation’s capital to urge members of Congress to quickly pass legislation that will save their pension benefits.

The effort involves the participation of hundreds of employees from throughout various functions of the company, including pilots, flight attendants, ground employees, flight dispatchers, meteorologists and management, most flying to Washington for the day-long lobbying push. 

“The pilots of Northwest Airlines view pension legislation as a win, win, win for the taxpayer, employee and our employer,” said Capt. Dave Stevens, master executive council (MEC) chairman of the Northwest unit of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), who was among pilots to land in Washington today to participate. “This is not a taxpayer bailout; rather it is Northwest’s opportunity to live up to its obligation over a longer period of time.” Washington

Northwest employees from around the country arrived at the capitol.  Many flew aboard two specially chartered flights, one from the airline’s WorldGateway at Detroit hub, the other from its Minneapolis/St. Paul hub.Washington Northwest provided two aircraft, including a 100-seat DC9-30 from Detroit, and a 124-seat Airbus 319 from the Twin Cities, as well as fuel, landing fees and other related costs.  In addition, employees from Northwest’s nearby Baltimore reservations call center drove to Washington to be part of the effort.

“Flight attendants have worked hard to bring forth fair pension legislation and AFA-CWA is proud to stand with our co-workers and make our voices heard,” said Shane Larson, government affairs director for the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA). “For too long, companies have been getting away with destroying the futures of their employees in under-funded pension plans.  Now, for the first time, we have an airline who wants to do the right thing and fulfill its obligation.  Therefore it is up to us, the employees, to unite together and make sure that this happens.”