Northwest Airlines may hire replacement workers

Northwest Airlines
will begin testing the
resolve of its striking mechanics when it begins to hire permanent
replacements today.

The strike won't end, but labor experts say it will be one more example of how the airline holds the upper hand in talks with the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association.

Northwest has passenger hubs in Minneapolis, Memphis and Detroit.

Some striking workers could still get their jobs back if they cross the picket line; if the union offers to return to work unconditionally, or if it strikes a deal with the airline.

Union leaders remain steadfast. On a message on a union hot line, AMFA (AM'-fuh) assistant national director Steve MacFarlane tells workers not to cross the picket line.

Meanwhile, Northwest is urging union leaders to allow a vote on the airline's latest offer.