Northwest Airlines flight attendants are trying another tactic now that a federal court has blocked a strike. The union is asking the National Mediation Board to declare that contract talks with Northwest are at an impasse.
If an airline and union reach a bargaining impasse, the mediation board can eventually free workers to strike. But that comes only after attempts to reach a settlement by mediation, arbitration and a 30-day cooling-off period have failed. Even then, the president could stop a strike.
Northwest flight attendants have appealed a judge's ruling barring them from striking the bankrupt carrier. Flight attendants are currently working under a contract imposed on them after union members rejected two proposed deals with the airline.
Next week in Washington, the mediation board will meet with Northwest and the flight attendants union to discuss the state of contract talks.
Northwest says it wants a negotiated agreement with the union.