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No Pact Yet for Northwest, Union

Only a few hours remain before the airline's mechanics might go on strike.
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Northwest Airlines


presented its mechanics with a "last and best" offer on a new contract Thursday as a potential strike loomed.

But union negotiators are unlikely to accept it, said Jeff Matthews, contract coordinator at the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association for Northwest. Matthews declined to disclose what concessions the airline offered.

In a brief statement on its Web site, Northwest said it had made the final offer to mechanics, but didn't offer details.

Both sides have been in last-minute talks as the clock ticks toward a midnight Friday deadline, after which mechanics can go on strike and the airline can put replacement mechanics to work.

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In the past, AMFA has accused the airline of intransigence in sticking to proposed concessions that would include layoffs of 53% of its workers and impose roughly 25% pay cuts on the survivors.

Northwest says it needs $176 million in annual savings from the mechanics and has dismissed the union's offers, saying they fail to meet that goal.

The airline is seeking the concessions as part of a broader $1.1 billion reduction in annual labor costs it contends is necessary to avoid bankruptcy. Late last year, Northwest got $250 million of that amount from pilots and $35 million from management and salaried employees.

On Friday, shares were up 5 cents, or 0.9%, at $5.53. Shares

rallied Thursday on an upgrade from a Wall Street analyst.

Separately, wire services reported that landing gear on a Northwest 747 collapsed when the plane touched down Friday in Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean. Three passengers suffered minor injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident's cause.