updated 11/6/2006 1:47:37 PM ET 2006-11-06T18:47:37

The 15-month-old mechanics strike against Northwest Airlines Corp. ended on Monday, with union approval of a new contract that won’t restore most of the strikers lost jobs.

The strike by 1,600 mechanics long ago ceased to have a visible effect on Eagan-based Northwest, which hired permanent replacement workers and outside contractors to replace the mechanics.

Seventy-two percent of the members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Union chose to accept the contract.

Replacement workers will keep their jobs. Mechanics who lost their jobs will have the option of being classified as laid off, which allows them to re-apply for positions as they open and retain their seniority for purposes of determining who gets hired back first.

Northwest will also pay severance — 10 weeks worth for those who leave permanently, and five weeks for those who switch to layoff status and wait for openings.

With 2,461 union members eligible to vote, 2,097 participated in the election. Of that, 1,511 voted for the contract.

“The strike will end today,” said Jeff Mathews, the union’s contract coordinator, on Monday.

Northwest Airlines confirmed the agreement in a news release that offered no further comment.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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