Labor unions at Northwest Airlines are preparing to fight for survival as the company merges with Delta Air Lines, the only major domestic carrier with a mostly nonunion work force. "This is a company that has never had a strike," brags an executive at Delta, where 6,300 pilots are unionized but 42,000 other workers are not. Unions for flight attendants and machinists could see their clout dramatically decreased if they fail to organize workers at what will become the world's largest airline.

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