MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Northwest Airlines flight attendants are eager to review the fine print of a tentative agreement that would end nearly four years of negotiations between their union and airline officials.
The company and Teamsters Local 2000 officials announced the agreement Thursday after a round of talks in Seattle. The tentative 5-year pact includes salary and pension hikes, as well as health insurance benefits for domestic partners.
The agreement must be ratified by the union's 11,000 members, who will start getting ballots as early as this week. They rejected the last tentative pact in August, when 69 percent of the rank-and-file demanded a better deal.
Several flight attendants asked about the deal Friday morning at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport had just arrived for work or from other cities and hadn't had time to consider the details, which haven't been made public. But many of them voted against the last pact, and they remained skeptical.
''I'm wary. I'll have to see it first,'' said Stacy Roberts, a Minneapolis-based flight attendant who has worked for Northwest for 14 years. ''I like my job, and I go to work and do the best I can, but it would be better to feel we had support.''
Max, who would not give his last name, said he plans to vote against the agreement, even though he hadn't reviewed it.
''No matter what they offer, you can always do better,'' he said.
The Seattle-based flight attendant said the company looks out for No. 1, and he said employee relations are poor.
''I don't think they really care about the well-being of their work force,'' he said.
Provisions the flight attendants will consider include:
-- Industry-leading pension rates, increased from $35 to $65 per month, nearly an 86 percent improvement.
-- Increased base pay with ''date of signing'' increases of 8 percent to 27.7 percent, depending on longevity. Attendants with the least seniority would get the biggest raises.
-- Stronger work rules.
-- Full domestic partner health insurance benefits.
Currently, pay for flight attendants at Northwest starts around $15,000 and rises to more than $40,000, with the average pay in the mid-$30,000 range.
Relations between labor and management have deteriorated since negotiations began in 1996. But they have been especially tense since Northwest sued the union over an alleged holiday sickout. Northwest fired 18 flight attendants for calling in sick during the Christmas-New Year's holiday period, and the union filed grievances. The airline canceled about 300 flights.
Both sides had agreed before Thursday that the company's lawsuit would be dropped if the flight attendants ratified a tentative agreement.
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