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Flight Attendants Hit NWA Management, Sellout Contracts

By J Burger

Minneapolis, MN – In December 1999, a US District judge granted a request by Northwest Airlines to seize the personal computers of union activists. Northwest Airlines contends that union activists of Teamsters Local 2000, which represents flight attendants, illegally mobilized members to participate in a sick-out. The Union says it was not involved. Members of Teamsters for a Democratic Union were the main targets of the attack.

Rank and file activists within the union have mobilized the membership to vote down concessionary contracts. Northwest and sell-outs in the top Teamster leadership want this to stop. Rank and file activists believe their efforts are the target of Northwest's lawsuit. Bureaucrats, loyal to Teamster International President Hoffa, have been inactive in face of the computer seizures.

At Northwest Airlines, management has tried everything under the sun in order to ram a bad contract down the throats of flight attendants. The company and the union have been negotiating on-and-off for a contract since 1996. Last summer, in a matter of hours after receiving the proposal from the negotiating committee, workers looked at it and decided the contract proposal was a give-away.

With contract negotiations under way again, the computer seizure might not have the intended affect. Many workers are furious at NWA's attack on their rights

Northwest has fired a number of workers in this run up to negotiations, placing rank and file activists in a tough spot. Billie Davenport, Local 2000 President, has said that the jobs of the activists will be regained through the contract negotiations. This puts a damper on the level of resistance rank and file activists can take up if the contract is bad.

Northwest workers have made it clear that they will settle for nothing short of a decent contract. If the negotiating team offers up another concessionary contract, be sure that the rank and file will mobilize to defeat it.

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