Northwest Airlines said that it was disappointed that its flight attendant failed to approve the tentative contract agreement reached earlier this month between the company and the union.
“The tentative agreement was a product of nearly around-the-clock negotiations involving substantial compromise on the part of both parties,” said Mike Becker, senior vice president of human resources and labor relations.
“We reached a consensual agreement with the new union recently chosen by our flight attendants and had hoped that Northwest flight attendants would ratify the agreement.”
On July 6, the National Mediation Board announced that Northwest flight attendants voted to have the AFA-CWA replace the Professional Flight Attendants Association (PFAA) as the flight attendants’ bargaining organization.
Becker continued, “Notwithstanding the results of the flight attendants’ contract vote, Northwest must continue to move forward with its restructuring efforts. As previously approved by the court, we now are implementing new contract terms and conditions for our flight attendants which are consistent with the judge’s order and with the March 1 tentative contract agreement which was not ratified. This action will result in the required $195 million in annual savings.”
In late June, Judge Allan L. Gropper of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York granted the airline’s 1113(c) motion to reject its contract with flight attendants. The airline was given authorization to implement the terms of an earlier tentative agreement that it reached with PFAA in March.
Northwest has reached agreements on permanent wage and benefit reduction agreements with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), Aircraft Technical Support Association (ATSA), the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), and the Northwest Airlines Meteorologists Association (NAMA). Two rounds of salaried and management employee pay and benefit cuts have also been instituted and the needed aircraft maintenance employee labor cost savings have been achieved.
Since beginning its restructuring process in September of last year, Northwest has remained focused on its plan to realize $2.5 billion in annual business improvements in order to return the company to profitability on a sustained basis. The restructuring plan continues to be centered on three goals: resizing and optimization of the airline’s fleet to better serve Northwest’s markets; realizing competitive labor and non-labor costs; and restructuring and recapitalization of the airline’s balance sheet.
Northwest Airlines is the world’s fifth largest airline with hubs at Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, Tokyo and Amsterdam, and approximately 1,200 daily departures. Northwest is a member of SkyTeam, an airline alliance that offers customers one of the world’s most extensive global networks. Northwest and its travel partners serve more than 900 cities in excess of 160 countries on six continents.