ALPA leaders recommend new Pinnacle contract

The ALPA Master Executive Councils (MECs) from Pinnacle Airlines, Mesaba Airlines and Colgan Air – representing almost 3,000 pilots flying under the Pinnacle Airlines Corporation banner – have endorsed a tentative agreement that would unite pilots from three airlines under a single contract, paving the way for the smooth integration of one of the world’s largest regional carriers.

The three MECs unanimously approved a joint collective bargaining agreement (JCBA) that was negotiated in just 102 days. ALPA pilots from the three carriers will now vote on whether to ratify the five-year agreement.

“The proposed JCBA is a remarkable achievement that will yield concrete gains for every Pinnacle Airlines Corporation pilot. It meets the Pinnacle, Mesaba and Colgan leadership’s stated goals of providing immediate improvements to the pilot group and advancing individual careers, while also positioning our merged airline for continued growth and prosperity,” commented Capt. Scott Erickson, Pinnacle MEC chairman.

ALPA leaders began the process of merging the three groups after Pinnacle Airlines Corporation bought Mesaba last summer. The airline holding company purchased Colgan in early 2006 and has stated it plans to phase out Colgan, make Pinnacle an all-jet airline and Mesaba an all-turboprop operation serving passengers of Delta, United/Continental and US Airways.

“The danger was that management would use the merger as an opportunity to whipsaw our pilot groups,” said Mesaba MEC chairman Capt. Mark Nagel. “We resolved to co-operate as a team to craft one contract and one seniority list, and we have achieved an agreement that will improve work rules, pay, benefits, and job security for every pilot at Pinnacle, Mesaba and Colgan. We look forward to working together as one airline to enhance the careers of all the pilots in our system.”

If the agreement is ratified, the next step in merging the three groups will be to create a joint seniority list. The Pinnacle, Mesaba and Colgan pilot merger committees have begun working on a joint list, with a target completion date of 1 May 2011.

“This is a unique moment in the history of the Association and our pilot groups,” declared Colgan MEC chairman Capt. Mark Segaloff, who was also recently elected as an ALPA executive vice-president. “To rapidly negotiate a joint collective bargaining agreement and then secure the support of three MECs speaks volumes about the hard work that was put forth in the joint negotiations by our JNC. We all have a lot to be proud of in this agreement, and we urge every Pinnacle Airlines Corporation pilot to vote ‘yes’ when it comes to them for a vote.”

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