Northwest Airlines, baggage handlers and ramp workers have reached a tentative agreement.

It is aimed at cutting the bankrupt airline's labor expenses.

Terms of the accord and the specific plans for a ratification vote are due to be distributed to members of the union representing about 56-hundred ground workers.

The union will also hold a simultaneous strike authorization vote in case the tentative agreement is rejected and the union contract is nullified by the court.

Northwest says it is pleased the sides reached an agreement.

The pact came hours before a bankruptcy court hearing in New York, where a judge was to consider whether to allow Northwest to throw out the union contract and impose its own terms.