Talks have broken off between mechanics and Northwest Airlines, the parent company of Mesaba, which serves half-a-dozen cities in Iowa. With the likelihood of a strike closer, the mechanics for Mesaba belong to the same union as Northwest mechanics, but Mesaba’s Dave Jackson says they won’t be affected.The mechanics who work on Mesaba airplanes are a different group, he explains, and are represented under a separate contract which has an expiration date at a different time, and is in a different stage of negotiations. He adds Northwest expects the regional carrier to fly a full schedule, as always. Jackson concedes a Northwest strike could ground the connecting flights travelers out of Iowa might be counting on. Mesaba flies its schedule into other Northwest hubs and the people have tickets to get onto Northwest flights. All he can promise is that Mesaba planes will fly a full schedule. Northwest mechanics can go on strike on August 20th if no deal is reached. Northwest Airlines directly serves Des Moines and Omaha, and Mesaba provides “Northwest Airlink” service to Mason City, Fort Dodge, Sioux City, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, and the Quad Cities. Northwest’s other regional partner, Pinnacle, has non-union mechanics. Northwest says it’s facing bankruptcy and is taking a hard line demanding hundreds of millions in wage concessions from airline workers. The carrier survived a financial crisis nearly fifteen years ago by doing the same thing.
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