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UAL, Northwest Ask Courts to Clamp Down on Mechanics

November 23, 2000|From Reuters

NEW YORK — UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and Northwest Airlines went back to court Wednesday, claiming their mechanics had violated temporary restraining orders against using slowdown tactics to pressure management in contract talks during the busy Thanksgiving travel period.

The earlier orders bar the unions and their members from any concerted action intended to disrupt operations.

In the United hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois, the judge did not add to the temporary restraining order issued Nov. 17 but asked to meet with both parties on Monday, said union spokesman Frank Larkin.

Larkin said the International Assn. of Machinists, which represents United's 15,000 mechanics, had not violated the order.

United Chief Operating Officer Andy Studdert said flight cancellations at United continued to rise after the order was granted on Friday, peaking on Monday at more than 80 maintenance-related cancellations.

Chicago-based United and the IAM are also set to return to the negotiating table on Monday. The talks have continued for almost a year.

In Minneapolis, a U.S. District Court judge scheduled a hearing for next Wednesday on whether the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Assn., which represents 9,000 mechanics at Northwest, should be held in contempt for violating a temporary restraining order issued by the court on Monday, Northwest said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Northwest had 56 maintenance-related cancellations and 137 maintenance-related delays, with 36 aircraft out of service at the start of the day, all above normal levels.

Minneapolis-based Northwest asked the court to order the union to cease all illegal job actions or face contempt-of-court fines or other sanctions.

An AMFA spokesman said the union is in compliance with the restraining order.

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