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NWA Update

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Active member
Jan 30, 2002
Northwest pilot negotiations update

Robert P. Mark
A union newsletter today reported that Northwest Airlines MEC Chairman Mark McClain joined the MEC negotiating committee members Wednesday in a meeting with management to discuss scope issues. ALPA was originally expecting to receive management's response to a union counterproposal to management's Newco, airline within an airline, concept.

ALPA's position is that NWA pilots can economically perform the flying management wants to outsource to its proposed "Newco" subsidiary. Unfortunately, management said it would not be prepared to respond to ALPA's Newco counterproposal until next week.

Instead, discussions this week centered on management's other proposed changes to scope, including its proposals to have the flexibility to wet lease a significant amount of flying, engage in unlimited code-sharing and sell assets without a pilot right to transfer with the asset. All of the proposals would increase management's ability to have other airlines and pilots perform NWA system flying.

ALPA made it extremely clear it believes management is trying to use the bankruptcy process to obtain contract changes it wants, but has been unable to achieve though traditional bargaining, and which are not necessary for our company to succeed.

ALPA also advised management that NWA pilots will reject any agreement which removes the job protection language in the contract and that should management insist on these changes, it risks a confrontation with NWA pilots.
I think it's obvious that the only way to save the pensions is to give up scope.

I mean if it worked for US Airways and United, it will work at NWA.

Oh wait...
I think it's obvious that the only way to save the pensions is to give up scope.

I mean if it worked for US Airways and United, it will work at NWA.

Oh wait...

Good one....
NWA Mgmt needs consenual union agreements to get DIP financing. Without it, it's CH 7. But yet, they are playing the "Cram Down" game.

Can you spell F-r-a-g-m-e-n-t-a-t-i-o-n ? Outsource, or sell everything piece-meal.

Livin' the dream,

I can't see them starting up a whole airline just to operate 100 seat CRJ/ERJ. Talk about pointless. However, If Newco was the airbus's thats a different story. Mesaba could properly operate all the airbus's in under 6 months. Maybe even one day Pinnicle could properly operate CRJ's. I think we are looking at domestic mainline flying at regional prices. Lets just hope NWA pilots are flying everything above 50 seats. Of course, where does that leave are regional partners?
I think scope will continue to be gutted until ALPA national pushes brand scope. Without a single seniority list, what is the incentive for the regional pilots? I just think that all of this tough talk isn't going to save the day until pilots on both sides of the divide realize that they are both fighting a losing battle. Until the current mentality changes, senior pilots at the majors will continue to sell everything to save their pensions and regional pilots will take what they can get from scope relief. NWA pilots supporting NEWCO will only widen the divide with their feeders. Developing more competition at the regional level will only make it harder for the feeders to make contractual gains, and in the long run make it easier for management to attack what remains at the majors. NWA, XJ and 9E all need to wake up and unite. If Mark McClain was smart he would take the MEC leaders in with him to this meeting and show a united front and not even discuss NEWCO. NWA is going to create a new kind of threat with NEWCO and it won't take long to trickle out to the rest of us at other carriers.
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NWA pilots need to can this NEWCO concept. I know that is obvious but when the Delta BK judge is kicking DAL management about their union busting attitude, where is the NWA judge in all this? What is being said in that court room? Profitable international routes, international cargo and less debt than some should equal a stronger company that could avoid this bargain basement proposal. It may be obvious, again, to some of you but this endangers every single narrowbody job. Not just SWA but EVERYONE. From a macro perspective this is not just a fix, but a revolution in an industry already deep in its latest evolution.

This NEWCO concept of managing labor unions is a real test of whether this industry will survive as is. (cabotage will be the next one) Allowing NWA to spend big bucks to start up a "new" company just to slash crewmember wages (or fire 50% of the workforce) will be the ultimate victory for the hard core Republican worker haters. It's not necessary and will only continue to burden the Federal Government with pension loss problems and more bailout money. It will set a precedent that if your airplanes and workers get old enough, you only have to set up an alter ego to start over with the same management team. Then you can buy new airplanes, hire new workers and transfer the best routes and assets to keep the management team employed.

That said, I am hopeful the industry will stay on the evolutionary path its on and not go the revolution route.
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You like the path we're on? I vote for the revolutionary part of your statement. The path we are on right now stinks, and it doesn't seem to bother those at the national level much. Sometimes revolution is a good thing. Seemed to work for the U.S. a couple of hundred years ago. Same concept, different players. Maybe I should change my screen name to "Spartacus".

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