MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Northwest Airlines asked its flight attendants to absorb about $134.1 million in annual costs, including a 9.8 percent pay decrease, after pitching similar labor-cutting proposals to its three other large unions.
The Eagan-based carrier already pitched cuts to its ground workers, pilots and mechanics unions, before meeting Wednesday with the Teamsters union, which represents roughly 10,000 Northwest flight attendants.
Northwest's restructuring plan -- which covers the period from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2009 -- would save about $950 million annually in total labor costs. The company said its operation in 2002 was approximately the same size as in 1996, but expenses were $1.2 billion higher and the airline took in nearly $400 million less revenue.
Northwest said its flight attendant costs have increased nearly 42 percent since 1996 to $559.2 million, from $394.9 million.
In addition to reduced pay and benefits, Northwest wants flight attendants to accept fewer vacation days, attend training without pay and pay more for health insurance.
Northwest said the proposed work rule changes would result in the furlough of about 925 additional flight attendants, but said it expected to recall about 790 flight attendants by the end of 2004. Northwest has furloughed 871 flight attendants this month.
Mollie Reiley, Teamsters Local 2000 trustee, said Northwest's plan -- which would save $864 million in flight attendant costs over 6 1/2 years -- was "outrageous" and demonstrates a "complete lack of respect" for union members.
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