Judge Allen Gropper, NY Bankruptcy Court judge overseeing the Northwest case, says he should rule by Friday on pending issues related to labor contracts, specifically the airline’s pilots’ union. Northwest told Judge Gropper last month that it had reached deals with some workers, but not the pilots or flight attendants, and asked for permission to reject those contracts. The pilots object to Northwest’s plan to move much of its business away from higher-paying big jets to less-remunerative (is that a word?) RJs; the airline says that’s a major cost-cutting factor in its plan to emerge from Chapter 11. Both the pilots and the flight attendants began voting on a strike yesterday.

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Bob Review #44 Now Served!

February 14, 2006

At the Health Care Law Bob … er, Blog,  you can now see Blawg Review #44. Love the nifty alpha-graphics!

Delta worker Dale Johnson got an immediate reward – beyond the good will of his coworkers and TSA, that is – for challenging an unbadged employee. After Johnson called on the employee to show his ID, the unbadged worker identified himself as "Hartsfield Harry" – the airport’s nickname for a pretty clever "secret shopper"-type program, in which employees are given the opportunity to "do the right thing" by spotting an infraction of the rules. The prize? $500, which Johnson said he gave to his wife. Good call.  (Note: link is to top story and may scroll off or change.)

Transportation Security Administration Secretary Kip Hawley reported to the Senate Commerce Committee that concerns over security and a pending audit have prompted the government to put a freeze on plans for the Secure Flight program, whereby PAX names would be checked by TSA in lieu of the airlines, as is current practice. More here from MSNBC.com.

… but United’s finally exiting bankruptcy court, stage right. "It now has about 30 percent fewer employees (58,000), 20 percent fewer airplanes (460) and 20 percent lower operating costs (7.5 cents per seat per mile), excluding fuel, than it did when the bankruptcy began on Dec. 9, 2002. Labor costs are down by more than $3 billion annually after two steep pay cuts and the elimination of defined-benefit pensions. Dozens of daily domestic flights have been eliminated." Papers were filed this afternoon, and Pete McDonald’s making the hand-shaking rounds at O’Hare, apparently, as we type. Congrats, United!