The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Northwest workers say NO!

Jun 20, 2005

Hundreds of picketing off-duty Northwest Airlines workers expressed opposition to concessions, taking part in a day long protest at Metro Airport near Detroit, Michigan on June 15.

Some wore t-shirts picturing a cobra that read: "IF PROVOKED, I WILL STRIKE."Signs carried by picketers read: "Management pensions are guaranteed, why not ours." "Don't Even Mess With My Pension." "Bonus for Executives, Pay Cuts for the Rest" "I AM Under Attack. Help Fight Corporate Terrorism." "How About No Concessions: Join the Revolution."Northwest is negotiating with two unions and says it wants cuts adding up to 800 million dollars a year. Northwest's outrageous demands include outsourcing so much work that 34% to 92% of workers in some job categories would be eliminated. They want roughly 25% pay cuts from most remaining workers and management proposes to turn all guaranteed pensions into 401(k) type plans.

The loss of jobs and the wage and benefits concessions the company says it wants add up to tens of thousands of dollars per worker per year.

In the company's immediate cross hairs are workers in two unions - the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), and the Professional Flight Attendants Association (PFAA). Workers from the Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (AIM) picketed in solidarity. Affected workers include mechanics, customer service agents, baggage handlers, airplane cleaners and dozens of other classifications.

Pickets were organized in both Minneapolis and Detroit, Northwest's two main hubs.

A one-day informational picket won't stop these companies, but it shows the readiness of workers to respond to attacks. That willingness to fight can back off Northwest – along with Delta, United and American.