After nine days of voting across the Northwest Airlines system, ground workers represented by Machinists Air Transport District 143 have ratified a new, concessionary contract, the union announced Friday.
“Sixty-two percent of the voting Equipment Service & Stock Clerk (ESSC) membership have accepted the terms of the tentative agreement reached with the bankrupt airline on May 19, 2006,” the union said in a statement on its website, www.iam143.org
“This was a choice between bad and worse,” the union said. “The agreement contains substantial sacrifice, but it allows ESSC members to preserve their contract and decades of collective bargaining gains.”
The agreement will not become effective until Northwest Airlines has either ratified agreements or imposed concessions for all the unions at the airline. Flight attendants, who rejected a contract proposal earlier in the week, were scheduled to be in Bankruptcy Court Friday where a judge could accept the airline’s motion to throw out their contract. Other unions, including the pilots and some units of the Machinists, had previously accepted contracts with huge wage cuts, while members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association remain on strike in a walkout begun last August.
“Employee concessions alone cannot save any airline,” Machinists Lodge 143 said in a statement. “The sacrifices IAM members have agreed to make are necessary for the carrier’s survival, but there is no guarantee of success.”