Revenge of the Northwest Pilots

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MINNEAPOLIS: The Northwest Airlines pilots' strike just got ugly. With all flights canceled through Labor Day and daily losses topping $10 million a day, the airline laid off 27,500 assorted mechanics, flight attendants and customer service employees Wednesday. TIME business bureau chief William Saporito says the pilots helped save Northwest eight years ago when it almost went under -- and now they want their money back.

"The pilots gave until it hurt then," he says, "and the executives made a jillion dollars when Northwest got healthier. Now it's doing very well, and the labor contracts are up, and the pilots want their pound of flesh." To Northwest, says Saporito, the pilots are "overpaid prima donnas who already got their fair share." Clearly, there are no white hats in this one -- just a lot of native South Dakotans with no way to get home for Labor Day (OK, several native South Dakotans). "Northwest's regional monopoly may force Clinton to intervene," says Saporito. Until then, the money continues to drain out of the airline's coffers. Think the pilots'll chip in again?