Northwest Reaches Tentative Deal With Attendants

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Northwest Airlines Corp. reached a tentative agreement with flight attendants on Monday, a union official said. The news came on the same day Michigan's largest passenger air carrier could have imposed a new contract that had drawn strike threats from the union.

Sean Fivecoat, the secretary-treasurer for the Northwest branch of the Association of Flight Attendants, said negotiators made the agreement around 9:20 a.m. EDT after bargaining all night. He said the deal includes a provision that it come to a vote by the rank-and-file quickly. He declined to discuss any details of the agreement.

Northwest had no immediate comment, spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said.

The deal comes on the day set by a bankruptcy judge for Northwest to be free to impose a contract that 80 percent of flight attendants had rejected last month. The union had threatened to strike if that happened, putting the financially precarious airline in even more danger.

"It was down to the wire and we made some improvements, and we just hope they're good enough," Fivecoat said.

Northwest had been seeking $195 million a year in savings from flight attendants, through wage cuts and work rule changes. Flight attendants were the last union at Northwest without a new contract.