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Judge OKs strike by Northwest attendants

As has been widely reported, the federal judge overseeing Northwest's bankruptcy has ruled that the airline's flight attendants have the right to express their opposition to the airline's unilateral imposition of pay and benefits cuts by striking.

Northwest had argued that such a strike was prohibited under the Railway Labor Act, which restricts the rights of workers, including airline employees, to disrupt the operations of certain transportation-related industries.

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With the legal hurdle cleared, the flight attendants could make good on their threat to begin random, unannounced work disruptions—code-named CHAOS (Create Havoc Around Our System)—as soon as Friday, August 25.

Northwest will appeal the ruling. And although no further negotiations have been scheduled, there's a chance the two sides could reach an agreement before the strike deadline.

Still, Northwest customers ticketed on flights departing on or after Friday next week should monitor the situation closely and be prepared to make alternative flight arrangements if the strike takes place.

In addition to coverage by the mainstream media, it's worth checking in regularly at the website of the Association of Flight Attendants, which reflects the latest position of the attendants' union and is a good indicator of where things might be headed.

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