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Teamsters to boycott Northwest meetings

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Teamsters union says it will boycott future meetings with Northwest Airlines executives about the carrier's business plan and proposed labor cost cuts.

"We're not going to be pushed into something. We're not going to be rushed," said Mollie Reiley, trustee of Teamsters Local 2000, which represents about 11,000 Northwest flight attendants.

"We've got a contract. It's in place, and it's not amendable until June of 2005," she said.

Reiley made her comments Tuesday after the first of three meetings called by the company to make its financial case for cuts in labor costs. On the same day, the breakaway Professional Flight Attendants Association filed papers with the National Mediation Board to replace the Teamsters as the union for Northwest flight attendants.

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Reiley said her members already have made sacrifices, adding that 1,130 flight attendants have been laid off and that those still employed started paying for 20 percent of their health care premiums in January.

The Eagan-based carrier used a similar meeting format with the Northwest branch of the Air Line Pilots Association. Last month, the executives asked the pilots for $2.76 billion in labor cost cuts over 61⁄2; years. In addition to a 17.4 percent pay cut, the company wants to lay off 343 more pilots.

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