Ellison calls for Congressional hearing on Northwest-Delta merger

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Congressman Keith Ellison, D-Minneapolis, Thursday called for a Congressional hearing on the impact of the potential merger between Northwest Airlines and Delta Airlines.

“This impending merger is likely to have a huge impact on the employees of Northwest Airlines, as well as the flying public, and the welfare of our local communities. It is imperative that Congress carefully examine each aspect of the proposed merger before allowing it to proceed,” Ellison stated.

In a letter to Michigan Congressman John Conyers, chair of the anti-trust task force, Ellison said “The Northwest and Delta merger could lead to overwhelming market power in certain areas of the country and ultimately lead to a lack of competition nationwide as other major airlines are forced to merge.”

A merger between the two airlines, which would create the world’s largest carrier as measured by traffic, is in negotiations.

Northwest, headquartered in the Twin Cities, employs about 31,000 workers; Atlanta-based Delta has about 47,000.

“The well being of both airline employees and customers should be our first priority,” Ellison wrote to Conyers. “Past mergers leave us with many concerns about the effect this could have on both employees and customers. In 2005, US Airways and American West Airlines merged.

“Three years after this merger, US Airways has not been able to finalize a merger of the workforces of the two airlines, nor has the fleet service operation at the combined carrier been integrated. This failure to integrate workforces has lead to inefficiency in the use of personnel as well as an inequality in wages and benefits.

“These continued problems have lead to a decline in customer service and airline performance. This prior merger should be examined and serve as a cautionary note as to why a merger of this nature may not be beneficial to the public.”

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