Mechanics ready as strike looms - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mechanics ready as strike looms

The Northwest counter at Memphis International appeared normal Friday night. The same could not be said behind the scenes as turbulent negotiations with airline mechanics continued.

"If you look at the total package--they're asking us to take a 46 percent pay cut," said Bill Brant.

Brant is a local leader with the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association. On the phone as the deadline loomed--he checked a list of employees facing possible unemployment.

"It's an assault on everyone's livelihood," said Brant.

Brant and another mechanic traded their tools for a stapler as they prepared picket signs in advance of a strike.

"I'd prefer not to open the package they're in--but we had them on standby," said Brant.

Striking employees planned to picket outside the main terminal at Memphis International. It was scheduled to begin at 7:30 Saturday morning.

"We've got our signs ready--we're ready," said Brant.

The union was allowed to have up to six people at two positions. 82 affected workers in Memphis plan to participate. Brant told us members of other airport unions were also willing to lend a hand.

"They're hoping we achieve an amicable agreement because whatever we get--they're coming after them next," said Brant.

And he was not anticipating talks to "take off" as the deadline drew closer. The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association has more than 4000 members who work for Northwest.

The airline vowed to fly through a strike, using replacement workers and a number of outside contractors.

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