Sep 12, 2005
Mechanics at Northwest Airlines, who have been on strike since August 20, have been warning that efforts by the company to keep its planes flying with replacement mechanics, that is, scabs, fixing the planes are endangering safety.
Inspections by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) confirm this charge. In 470 FAA reports at Northwest maintenance facilities over an 11-day period, there was a "defect rate" of 58% to 90% – much higher than the 9% defect rate that should trigger an internal FAA alert, according to its own regulations. But not only was no alert triggered, the FAA did not even enter the reports into its electronic database.
When an FAA inspector complained to the FAA about this, and then went public by sending a letter to Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton, the FAA reassigned him. Obviously, this served as a warning to the rest of the FAA inspectors that they better shut up about all the safety violations on the Northwest planes.
From the start of the mechanics strike against Northwest, the Bush administration has claimed that it was neutral and was staying out of the strike. Of course, this has been one big lie. By allowing Northwest to continue to fly planes that are an obvious danger to the flying public, the government is intent on helping the company in its efforts to try to crush the workers and their union – even risking a disaster in the skies and untold deaths.