Can Northwest withstand a flight attendants strike?

Readying for "chaos"
Flight attendants union spokesman Rick Thornton wears a "CHAOS" t-shirt, which refers to a work stoppage strategy of random, unannounced strikes that can be particularly disruptive.
MPR Photo/Jeff Horwich

The ruling that allows Northwest flight attendants to strike comes almost a year after Northwest airlines mechanics made good on their threat to strike.

At that time, Northwest predicted it could withstand a strike by using replacement mechanics. The airline was right, and many union mechanics are now out of work.

But now, Northwest is bankrupt and up against another threatened strike. Professor Gary Chaison, who teaches labor relations at Clark University in Massachusettes, talks about how the flight attendants' situation might differ from the mechanics. He spoke with MPR's Tom Crann.

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