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Northwest Settlement Reached Northwest Airlines and its mechanics agreed to a tentative contract settlement potentially ending more than four years of talks that ultimately led to White House intervention The two sides emerged early yesterday with a four-year contract that would make Northwests mechanics the highest paid in the industry If the 9975 Northwest mechanics cleaners and custodians represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association vote to approve the contract something that is uncertain the airline would not enter another labor negotiation until next year United Airlines American Airlines and Delta Airlines which are Northwests biggest three rivals are also facing potential strikes Northwest agreed to increase the pay for a senior mechanic more than 24 percent to 2995 an hour when a contract is signed and rising by the fourth year to more than 33 an hour License premiums extra hourly fees based on mechanics training were also increased above the previous offer and will for the first time be included in calculating overtime In addition the airline also agreed to increase pension payments by 112 percent and raise its offer of retroactive pay to 88 million from 41 million That amounts to an average lump-sum payment of 10000 for all mechanics Management and the mechanics negotiated a side agreement to extend the life of the three-member presidential board for 30 days According to that agreement which requires White House approval the board would issue a recommendation only if union members rejected the tentative contract The two sides would then have 30 days to negotiate before the union could strike or a settlement could be impose by Congress Richard Anderson Northwests chief executive and Douglas M Steenland its president called the agreement fair and equitable and said it would enable the airline to continue growing in an extremely competitive marketplace In 1998 a tentative agreement between the two sides was voted down Therefore the workers choose different representation to the Aircraft
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