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Sun, Dec 19, 2010

Pilot Reps Reach Potential Agreement with Pinnacle Management

Joint Contract Is 'First Step' in Merger of Three Pilot Groups

The Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) for the pilots of Pinnacle Airlines, Mesaba Airlines, and Colgan Air has reached a tentative agreement (TA) with Pinnacle Airlines Corp. management on a joint collective bargaining agreement. This is the first step in the process of merging the three pilot groups, all of which are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA).

“This TA marks the end of nearly six long years of contract negotiations for Pinnacle pilots,” said Capt. Scott Erickson, chairman of the Pinnacle Airlines branch of ALPA. “The terms of the new TA reward the tireless dedication of the Pinnacle pilot group and clear the way to join with our brothers and sisters at both Mesaba and Colgan to form one of the world’s largest contract carriers.”

The JNC began intense, expedited contract talks with management in mid-September following the purchase of Mesaba Airlines by Pinnacle Airlines Corp., which also owns Pinnacle Airlines and Colgan Air. The two negotiating teams met around the clock in the last several weeks to reach a deal.

Pinnacle pilots have been working under a contract that was signed in 1999 and became amendable more than five years ago. Colgan pilots have been working without benefit of a collective bargaining agreement, and Mesaba pilots have been working under a concessionary contract resulting from their then-parent company’s bankruptcy negotiations.

“This TA represents the cooperation, dedication, and exemplary work ethics of three negotiating committees working together as one pilot union,” said Capt. Mark Nagel, chairman of the Mesaba pilots. “It was because of these negotiators that we reached this deal, which includes industry-leading job security, wages, benefits, and work rules.”

“Though the Colgan pilots joined ALPA only a couple of years ago,” said Capt. Mark Segaloff, chairman of the Colgan pilots group, “our ability to work with the pilots of Mesaba and Pinnacle in the merger and on this joint agreement has brought additional strength and stability to our carrier. With the joint agreement, we will move from being one of the lowest-paid pilot groups and working without a contract to being part of a major player in the regional industry going forward.”

The tentative agreement review and ratification process will begin with each pilot group’s respective Master Executive Council (MEC) voting separately on whether to ratify the agreement, which would then be submitted to the combined pilot group for ratification. The Joint Negotiating Committee is currently working to complete the full-language agreement required prior to ratification by the MEC.

Capt. John Prater,
President of ALPA

“This is a momentous occasion for these three pilot groups,” said Capt. John Prater, president of ALPA. “The commendable leadership skills displayed by these three chairmen in supporting this process exemplify the solidarity and unity that all pilots should emulate. Working together on a common goal of one contract, one list, one voice, these pilots show the rest of the industry what can be achieved by working together.”

FMI: www.alpa.org, www.flypinnacle.com

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