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Northwest, Mechanics Resume Talks

January 9, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Northwest Airlines has resumed contract negotiations with its union mechanics, ending a two-month recess that included a clash over an alleged work slowdown.

The talks were put back on track Monday by the National Mediation Board after both sides revised their economic proposals. Northwest sweetened its wage and pension proposal while the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association backed away from its demand for raises of more than 100 percent.

Bill Bailey, president of AMFA Local 35, which represents 340 Northwest mechanics in Duluth, Minn., said there was some disappointment over the union’s concession, but that the mechanics are trying to be realistic.

Negotiations are scheduled to last all week.

The union, which represents about 10,000 mechanics and cleaners throughout Northwest’s system, complained about the mediation board when talks were ordered into recess Nov. 2 because the mediator said the union’s demands were unreasonable.

The mechanics are the last group of union workers at Northwest still in negotiations for a contract to replace the concessionary pacts that were implemented across the board from 1993 to 1996 to save Northwest from bankruptcy.

During the recent two-month break in negotiations, Northwest sued AMFA for allegedly orchestrating a work slowdown during the holiday season to bring pressure on contract negotiations. The union denied the charges.

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