MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- After being sued by its union, Northwest Airlines has agreed to limit its use of information obtained during criminal background checks on employees following Sept. 11.
In personnel matters, Northwest will only act on events in the past 10 years when using criminal history data, the Eagan-based airline said in a letter sent last week to its seven unions.
Under federal law, Northwest was required to fingerprint employees who have access to secure airport or airline facilities. In reviewing each employee, the FBI sent each person's complete criminal background history to the airline.
The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which represents 9,500 Northwest workers, sued the airline last month on claims the carrier had gone beyond federal law in its use of information obtained during the checks.
AMFA claimed that members were suspended from jobs, denied access to secure areas or fired for having offenses on their records beyond the 10-year federal time frame. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit two weeks ago.
Northwest met with various union leaders last week to discuss the issue.
"Northwest has changed its position," said Robert De Pace, head of the International Association of Machinists District 143. "We're pleased."
In a letter sent to union leaders, Northwest senior vice president Robert A. Brodin said "after additional discussions with several (union officials), the Company has decided to modify its position.
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