The Honorable Victor Marrero of the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York has overturned a
bankruptcy court decision and granted Northwest Airlines’ request
for a preliminary injunction to prevent a threatened strike or work action by the
company’s flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight
Attendants-CWA (AFA). “Judge Marrero’s decision to grant Northwest the injunction allows our
customers to continue to book Northwest Airlines with confidence, knowing
that we will get them to their destinations reliably,” Doug Steenland,
president and chief executive officer, said.
“While the court decision is reassuring to our customers, we remain
committed to negotiating a consensual agreement with our flight attendants.
We hope to accomplish that goal in the near future.”
Last month, the District Court issued an injunction against any work
actions by the AFA after Northwest appealed Bankruptcy Court Judge Allan
Gropper’s denial of the company’s request for a preliminary injunction, to
provide the District Court time to consider Northwest’s appeal from Judge
Gropper’s ruling. Upon review, Judge Marrero concluded that Judge Gropper
had erred in denying Northwest’s request for an injunction.
FLIGHT ATTENDANT DISCUSSIONS
Northwest and the unions representing its flight attendants have
negotiated two tentative agreements. In July, flight attendants rejected a
tentative contract agreement that Northwest had negotiated with AFA and
that would have met the targeted $195 million in annual labor cost savings.
AFA endorsed that tentative agreement and recommended that its members vote
in favor of it.
As a result of the contract rejection, and in accordance with a
previous decision of the Bankruptcy Court, Northwest implemented contract
terms and conditions for its flight attendants that met the required $195
million of annual labor cost savings for that group.
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, which allowed Northwest to meet its
goal of achieving $1.4 billion in annual labor savings.
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