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The union representing Northwest Airlines flight attendants is suing the carrier in U.S. District Court because Northwest won’t allow rank-and-file flight attendants to observe contract negotiations. President Guy Meek said the Professional Flight Attendants Association filed the lawsuit on Thursday because the union’s constitution guarantees members access to the negotiating process, according to a report in the Star Tribune. Northwest, which has lost money for four years, is trying to cut labor costs by $950 million a year. The Eagan, Minn., based carrier has achieved about one-third of that goal. Northwest pilots agreed to a 15 percent pay cut, which saves Northwest $265 million a year. Northwest also has reduced the annual compensation of salaried workers by $35 million. “I can’t understand why they pick the battles they pick in a time that they need cooperation from our flight attendants,” Meek said. Northwest also is trying to negotiate a cost-cutting contract with the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which is battling the airline over the same issue of rank-and-file observers but hasn’t taken the fight to court. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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