PHOENIX—- With their union pledging last week to provide a $2 million grant to finance their ongoing collective-bargaining efforts, the pilots of Mesa Airlines today ramped up their communications, family outreach endeavors, and strike-preparation activities as they continue to confront airline management’s stonewalling of contract negotiations. A rally this Saturday for the pilots and their families is among the activities planned by the leaders of the Mesa pilots’ unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA).
In addition to the $2 million grant, ALPA pledged to use all appropriate means, including financial, legal and communications resources, to oppose the formation of Freedom Airlines and its operation as a non-union, alter-ego airline.
“This show of support and dedication from our union adds horsepower to our ongoing effort to negotiate a fair contract for our pilots,” said Captain Andrew Hughes, chairman of Mesa Airlines ALPA unit.
The pilots’ negotiations have been conducted under the auspices of the National Mediation Board since July. Also in July, ALPA filed a lawsuit to compel Mesa Airlines management to bargain in good faith as outlined by the Railway Labor Act (RLA). The suit also requests that the court enjoin the Mesa defendants from operating Freedom Airlines, which the union believes Mesa Group CEO Jonathan Ornstein will use to divert work from the Mesa Airlines pilots.
“Mesa management’s reluctance to participate in the negotiation process thus far is truly unfortunate. Mr. Ornstein has a dedicated group of professionals providing top-notch service to his airline - pilots who are prepared and motivated to negotiate in good faith for a fair and just contract,” Hughes said. “Yet we have had to seek a legal remedy to compel management’s negotiators to meaningfully participate in mediated negotiations. Perhaps this additional demonstration of strength and commitment from ALPA will awaken management to their obligation to deal with us.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilot union, representing more than 66,000 pilots at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada, including 1,254 Mesa Airlines pilots. Visit the ALPA Website at www.alpa.org.