We're keeping a close eye on the situation at Northwest Airlines. Flight attendants could strike tonight, beginning at 7:01pm Pacific time. A federal bankruptcy judge says flight attendants are allowed to walk off the job, because the airline imposed a new contract on them, without their consent.
Picketing begins at PDX at 4 this afternoon.
Here's what's at stake for the flight attendants. The union says its average salary would be cut 21%, from $42,000 a year to $33,000 a year.
The strike likely won't mean flight attendants would completely walk off the job. Rather, it's likely they'll call-in-sick for certain flights... or walk off the plane just before it's set to depart. It's a tactic they call "CHAOS"... meaning "Create Havoc Around Our System." It was last used by Alaska Airlines flight attendants in 1993, and it succeeded in getting them a new contract.
What does all this mean for passengers? There are a lot of questions surrounding that. And here are the best places to go to find more information.
Northwest Association of Flight Attendants website. This has the most updated information directly from the union.
Northwest Airlines has a Q and A on its website. But, among other things, it says a strike won't disrupt operations. This is not true. A strike, in any form, will cause flights to be delayed and cancelled.
Portland's Azumano Travel will run continual updates, and have agents available all weekend to answer Northwest Airlines-related questions.
I will also post updates throughout the weekend right here.
I'd be happy to look into your questions. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.