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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Northwest Airlines contract offer raises the bar for mechanics

Advertiser News Services

Northwest Airlines mechanics have a deal before them that will make them the highest paid in the industry.

A tentative contract agreement reached yesterday between the airline and its mechanics union will boost pay by 37 percent over four years, more than double retirement benefits and put hefty retroactive paychecks into their hands.

The deal also could establish a new benchmark at other airlines. But judging by the mixed reactions and faint praise the tentative agreement has received so far, there's no guarantee the labor dispute will end with ratification.

One thing is clear: Travelers won't be facing a strike at Northwest Airlines in mid-May, even if this deal is rejected by the union's rank and file.

But experts caution fliers that three other major airlines still face contract disputes that could disrupt summer travel.

Pilots at Delta could walk off their jobs as early as April 29 if no contract is reached or if President Bush doesn't intervene.

Flight attendants at American Airlines have voted to strike if the government allows them to.

And flight attendants at United Airlines have threatened to strike if their airline buys US Airways as proposed, although United has said a strike would be illegal.

Also, pilots of Cincinnati-based Comair, which Delta owns, are in the third week of their strike. No talks are scheduled.