NEW YORK - A federal judge blocked Northwest Airlines flight attendants from going on strike Friday, handing a victory to the airline just hours before a planned strike action that could have devastated the cash-strapped company.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero said he will issue an injunction to allow time for him to examine the case.
He said Northwest Airlines Corp. made a ‘‘persuasive case’’ that a delay in any strike was necessary so that the legal issues could be resolved. He said that while the injury to flight attendants would be to delay their ability to strike, ‘‘far greater injuries exist to Northwest and the public by permitting the strike to commence at this point.’’
The flight attendants had planned to launch unannounced, sporadic walkouts anytime after 7 p.m. Arizona time Friday. Northwest, already operating under bankruptcy protection, has said a strike could kill it.
The nation’s fifth-largest airline, Northwest has about 7,300 active flight attendants. The workers are angry the company imposed 21 percent pay cuts, which they say amount to 40 percent when health insurance increases are added in.
Northwest has said it needs $195 million a year in savings from flight attendants.