Northwest mechanics strike looms

Negotiators for Northwest Airlines and its mechanics union are returned to the bargaining table Friday morning with a strike deadline just hours away.

The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association can strike as early as 11:01 p-m Central time Friday night.

Northwest put what it calls its "last and best" offer on the table Thursday, but union spokesman Jeff Mathews expressed doubt. He said they expect to get Northwest's real "final offer" late tonight -- if the talks don't break down before then.

Northwest officials declined to describe their latest offer.

The airline has demanded that AMFA accept $176 million dollars in pay and benefit cuts. Northwest has trained replacement mechanics and management workers to keep the fleet flying if there's a strike.

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