Half A Loaf Offered To Mechanics

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A bankruptcy judge has held his nose and decided that US Airways mechanics will be better off with lower-paying jobs rather than no jobs at all. But the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers can still likely accomplish the latter by going on strike. On Thursday, Judge Stephen S. Mitchell said US Airways could cancel its existing contract with its mechanics as a cost-cutting measure, but not until the union votes on the revised contract Jan. 22. In handing down his ruling, Mitchell conceded it wasn't fair to the workers. "But the question is, will there be any jobs left at all at the end of the day?" That type of question may be weighing heavily at United Air Lines where many current workers ponder the security of their positions and retired pilots ponder the loss of their pensions. UAL got massive concessions from its pilots with pay cuts and cancellation of their pension plan but it's all on the condition that other unions do the same. A bankruptcy judge agreed with leaders of unions representing flight attendants, mechanics and airport staff that conditions of one deal couldn't be imposed on other sets of negotiations. The flight attendants are now in negotiations and say they might hold intermittent strikes if the talks don't go well.