Fighting on many fronts

It’s a plane. No, a train. And Northwest Airlines’ striking mechanics are picketing it. Yes really. In the second week of a strike largely ignored by the flying public, the union formerly known as AMFA picketed a railroad marshalling yard about 60 miles from the airline’s Detroit hub to draw attention to its grievances. An Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association spokesman said the action was “a legal secondary strike” but added that the picketing at CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern freight facilities in Toledo, Ohio, would be brief.


 


Northwest meanwhile continues to fly at what it claims are near normal levels, although it warned AMFA that it would replace strikers permanently and hire the temporary workers it has used since August 20 if the 4,400 strikers didn’t return to their old positions by the week of 13 September. It did acknowledge it was cooperating with FAA safety inspectors whose probe began in response to the request of a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Senator from Minnesota


Repeating its warning of a looming bankruptcy reorganisation, Northwest did say it was suspending its daily New York-Tokyo B747 non-stops as of 2 October because rising fuel costs “were severely affecting the financial viability of some routes.”  And authorities at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Int’l Airport, Northwest’s #2 hub, said they would consider postponing for a year the expansion of a terminal where new gates were to have been available by 2007. No word what the freight trains were carrying.

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