Pinnacle, Colgan & Mesaba pilots approve ALPA contract

Pinnacle Airlines Corporation (PNCL) reports that its pilots have ratified a collective bargaining agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), with the single contract covering pilots at all three of the Corporation’s operating subsidiaries – Pinnacle Airlines, Mesaba Aviation and Colgan Air.

The single contract completes negotiations that were under way at Pinnacle and Colgan prior to Pinnacle’s acquisition of Mesaba on 1 July 2010, and provides a new contract for pilots at Mesaba that would supersede their present contract. Pinnacle has 1,305 pilots, Mesaba has 1,080 and Colgan has 541.

“I am extremely pleased that our pilots ratified the agreement with ALPA for a strong contract that brings together the pilots of Pinnacle, Mesaba and Colgan,” declared Phil Trenary, president and CEO of Pinnacle Airlines Corp. “The new contract provides for competitive compensation for our pilots and will help ensure that we maintain our place as a leader within the regional industry.”

The five-year agreement provides improved salary and benefits, which will result in a substantial increase in compensation for the majority of the pilots. The majority of the new terms will go into effect on 1 March.

ALPA described the deal as a historic joint collective bargaining agreement (JCBA) which “raises the bar for all airline pilots”. Votes were cast by nearly 87% of the eligible pilots, all of whom are represented by ALPA. A convincing 90.5% ratified the agreement.

“After a long road of negotiations, Pinnacle pilots have secured a new working agreement that properly compensates and recognises the professional pilots who have been the motive force of Pinnacle Airlines’ successful and profitable operation,” said Capt. Scott Erickson, Pinnacle Master Executive Council (MEC) chairman. “By unifying with Mesaba and Colgan, we met and exceeded our goals for the contract and broke new ground for the industry.”

“This contract secures our future in this volatile industry,” remarked Capt. Mark Nagel, Mesaba MEC chairman. “Mesaba pilots know the value of job security and how that goes hand in hand with protecting core aspects of the business. With industry-leading wages and work rules, Pinnacle and Colgan pilots join us in looking ahead to a bright future.”

“This begins a new era for Colgan pilots who have never worked under a contract,” noted Capt. Mark Segaloff, Colgan MEC chairman. “It signifies the commitment of management to properly compensate, protect, and respect the professional pilots at all three of the Pinnacle Airlines Corporation carriers.”

All current and future flying done by Pinnacle Airlines Corp. companies will be performed by pilots under the new contract, which was negotiated in only 102 days and unanimously endorsed by the Pinnacle, Colgan and Mesaba union leadership in January. It also paves the way for the smooth integration of PNCL’s operations.

“This contract is a powerful example of how successful ALPA pilots can be when they engage in a coordinated effort and execute a collective plan,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president. “The Pinnacle, Mesaba and Colgan pilot leaders carried out their unified vision for the contract and both the pilots and their merged airline will realise tangible benefits. This agreement also raises the bar for all airline pilots, advancing ALPA’s goal of enhancing our profession.”

The next step in merging the three groups is to create a single, integrated seniority list. The Pinnacle, Mesaba and Colgan merger committees have begun negotiations on a joint list, which is scheduled to be in place by 1 May. Once the integrated seniority list has been finalised, the three MECs will reorganise into a single MEC and elect new officers, completing the pilot merger process.

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