Northwest pilots get $10 million pledge for strike fund

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) - The parent union for 5,000 Northwest Airlines pilots has pledged up $10 million for a strike contingency fund, providing leverage as negotiations with management enter a crucial phase.

Chairman Mark McClain of the Northwest branch of the Air Lines Pilots Association says the union doesn't want to strike, but to reach a "fair, consensual agreement" with Northwest.

Northwest operates passenger hubs in Minneapolis; Memphis; and Detroit.

The union also said company negotiators continue to make "unreasonable demands." Pilot pay has been cut 39% since late 2004, and Northwest wants permanent cuts worth $358 million a year.

Northwest and its pilots have been negotiating for three weeks in New York, where the airline also is asking a bankruptcy judge to nullify the labor contracts for the pilots and flight attendants unions.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)