- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

3:05 p.m.

Northwest Airlines will open a reservations call center in Sioux City, Iowa, and close one in Baltimore because it’s having trouble finding workers there, the carrier said today.

The Iowa center is scheduled to open late this year and will employ up to 300 reservations sales agents and managers, the airline said.

It will close its Baltimore reservation center on March 31, 2008. The 183 workers there will have the option to transfer to other reservations centers. Northwest Corp. also runs reservation centers in Chisholm, Minn.; Minneapolis; Seattle; and Tampa, Fla.

“While this was a very difficult decision to make, it was necessary given the inability to retain and attract sufficient numbers of qualified staff at the Baltimore facility,” said Perry Cantarutti, Northwest vice president of reservations sales and services.

Reservations agents and other Northwest workers have taken pay cuts as the airline reorganizes under bankruptcy protection. Their union blamed pay cuts for the job losses in Baltimore.

“Our brothers and sisters at the Baltimore Reservations Center deserve better,” reads the Web site for District 143 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. “They have become casualties of a contract wage that NWA insisted upon throughout negotiations.”

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