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News Briefs

Northwest Airlines, Mechanics Union Reach Agreement


Northwest Airlines and its mechanics union reached a tentative contract agreement early Monday as a special Presidential Emergency Board was preparing to issue a report that would have basically imposed terms of a settlement on the two sides.

Details of the new agreement were not available pending ratification by the airline’s 9,795 mechanics, a process the union said would take approximately three weeks. The mechanics are represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association.

Richard Anderson, Northwest’s chief executive officer, said that when he assumed leadership of the airline in February, one of the priorities was to improve relationships with Northwest employees. “We believe this tentative agreement with AMFA positively advances those goals,” he said in a statement announcing the settlement.

O.V. Delle-Femine, AMFA national director, said he thought the agreement would be an industry leader for Northwest mechanics, but he said that probably wouldn’t last too long as agreements with other mechanics unions are negotiated later this year. “It’s like a baton race,” Delle-Femine said of the contract’s industry leadership status.

Administration Proposes Shift In EPA Enforcement to States


The Bush administration would begin to shift some responsibility for enforcing federal environmental protection laws from the Environmental Protection Agency to the states under a plan contained in budget documents released Monday.

As a first step, the administration’s proposed fiscal 2002 budget would cut $10 million, resulting in a 9 percent reduction in the EPA’s enforcement staff in Washington and regional offices, while providing the states with $25 million in grants to step up enforcement and $25 million more for environmental assessments.

The proposal, if approved by Congress, would mark a significant departure from a more aggressive policy of federal enforcement and prosecution of polluters since the creation of the EPA in 1970. The agency was founded during the Nixon administration to address environmental problems that were being ignored by state and local officials or that were beyond the resources of the states to address.

State governments have had a mixed record of enforcement, with some taking an aggressive role and others tolerating flagrant violations of environmental laws by industry, according to environmentalists and federal enforcement experts.

Gay Republican to Hold AIDS Post


President Bush plans to name a gay Republican as the director of his Office of National AIDS Policy on Monday and will broaden its mission to focus on the disease’s spread internationally, an administration official said Sunday.

The director is to be Scott H. Evertz, 38, a fundraising executive with a faith-based senior citizens’ program in Milwaukee and formerly a development official for an AIDS ministry. He is the first gay person to lead the office, which was started by President Clinton in 1994 and has had three other directors.

Bush also plans to announce a task force to address the AIDS crisis internationally, particularly in Africa. The group will be co-chaired by Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. It will include national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Bush’s domestic policy adviser, Margaret La Montagne.