Mesaba flight attendants reach deal

Mesaba Airlines and its flight attendants have a tentative agreement that would help the bankrupt carrier cut its labor costs.

The two sides announced the proposed deal early Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, Mesaba and its pilots also reached a tentative deal.

Union leaders will review the proposed settlements for the pilots and flight attendants before deciding if they'll be put to ratification votes.

Mesaba is still in contract talks with its mechanics.

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Neither Mesaba nor the flight attendants' union provided financial or other details of the tentative agreement. But union leader Tim Evenson said flight attendants are "willing to do what it takes to make sure that our company is successful once again."

Mesaba President John Spaners said non-stop negotiations over the past few days resulted in a solution that works for the company and flight attendants.

"Reaching a second consensual agreement in just as many days builds on the progress we have already made in our plan to emerge successfully from restructuring," Spanjers said.

Mesaba has been looking to slash its annual labor costs by 17.5 percent. The airline would achieve that savings through wage, benefit and other cuts.

Mesaba received court approval to impose contracts on some 1,100 pilots, mechanics and flight attendants. But it has refrained from doing that --so far. The airline says it prefers to negotiate consensual deals.

The unions' hand at the bargaining table was greatly weakened when a bankruptcy judge ruled workers cannot strike if Mesaba imposes wage and other cuts on them.

Mesaba provides regional air services to Northwest Airlines. Mesaba flies passengers between Northwest's hub airports and smaller cities, such as St. Cloud and International Falls.