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Northwest plans flight attendant outsourcing

/ Source: msnbc.com news services

Northwest Airlines is planning to outsource some of the positions filled by senior flight attendants on its coveted international routes according to a report in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal.

Emboldened by its success in beating a mechanics strike with an army of replacement workers, the move is another sign that the airline, which filed for bankruptcy-court protection last month, wants to become a “virtual airline,” with all sorts of jobs previously claimed by organized labor outsourced to cheaper workers according to the newspaper report — a tactic the paper says other airlines may be forced to copy.

Northwest told its bankruptcy-court judge earlier this month that it will ask the court at a Nov. 16 hearing to cancel its current labor contracts if the unions do not agree by the middle of November to new conditions that would save hundreds of millions of dollars a year the newspaper reported. The airline is also trying to outsource pilot and ground-worker jobs, the paper said.