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Northwest's Big Payout

Cindy Loose

Northwest flight attendants this week began voting on a tentative agreement that would lock in pay cuts through 2011. Just then they learned that under a Chapter 11 agreement, after Northwest exits bankruptcy, Northwest Chief Executive Doug Steenland will get $26.6 million in restricted shares and options.

As one might expect, the flight attendants objected to the big payout. So too did the unions for airline pilots and ground workers, like baggage handlers and reservations agents.

Seems to me it takes a lot of guts to take a multimillion-dollar handout when you're asking your workers to take cuts. I think that's true even if you've made a company a lot of money during your tenure. How does that work if you've been in charge during a period a company went broke?

Am I missing something?

By Cindy Loose |  May 9, 2007; 10:01 AM ET  | Category:  Airline Industry , Cindy Loose
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You're not missing anything. It's the current CEO culture. Even if they didn't make any money they are somehow entitled to these massive payouts.

It's ridiculous.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | May 9, 2007 10:15 AM

Wow. Yeah, I'd be pretty mad if I were a flight attendant.

Posted by: h3 | May 9, 2007 10:55 AM

Since the flight attendants, pilots, co-pilots, etc. are employees of Northwest, and they are forced to take pay cuts, the CEO also is an employee of Northwest, and, therefore, the CEO should be forced to take a deep deep pay cut as well. No wonder Northwest is in bankruptcy - multimillion dollar payout only to the CEO. What a joke.

Posted by: J | May 10, 2007 11:03 AM

I was in a stroller on the picket lines with my parents during the Eastern Airlines strike in the early 80s. My mom a flight attendant on strike and my father a pilot on strike, we stood out there for days on end with signs and having people take pictures of the entire family. Sounds to me like Doug Steenland is just another Frank Lorenzo, one of the biggest bozo CEOs in history.

Posted by: yup | May 10, 2007 5:02 PM

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