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Amidst airport chaos, Northwest flight attendants still set to strike

With all the sound and fury generated by last week’s alleged terrorism plot and the ensuing airport security changes, it’s easy to forget some of the stories that were making headlines just before the news from Britain arrived. Here’s one story travelers need to keep an eye on, though: Northwest’s flight attendants are still set to strike after failing to reach a new labor agreement with the bankrupt carrier.

You’ll recall the flight attendants had first targeted yesterday, August 15, as the start date for their potential action. In the wake of last week’s security changes, the union’s executive council voted to delay the strike threat another 10 days, or until August 25. The two sides remain at odds, with Northwest looking to reduce its labor costs by $195 million and the flight attendants not terribly thrilled with the idea. The National Mediation Board brought the two sides together yesterday, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (free registration required). But thus far, there has been no movement on the issue.

In other Northwest news, the airline’s largest union—the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers—approved the carrier’s plan to outsource some of its ground operations at airports with the smallest number of flights. That means many workers will lose their jobs to outsourcing. And this is where it gets strange: The airline, in a supposed move to help those workers who will soon be out of work, released a list of 101 tips for saving money. Among the tips: “Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the garbage.”

So this is what it’s come to for laid-off airline employees? “You’ll be fine, just go do some trash picking”? Thank you, but no. Seems to me that Northwest should have cut themselves off at 100 tips.

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