The pilots of Mesaba Airlines have announced that as of 12:01 a.m. EST on
Jan. 10, 2004, they will be legally entitled to strike if they have not
agreed to new contract terms.
The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) received
notification this morning that ” ... all practical methods provided in the
Railway Labor Act for our adjusting the dispute have been exhausted
without effecting a settlement” by the National Mediation Board (NMB).
This starts a 30-day cooling off period after which either side is free to
take economic self-help action. Mesaba operates as a Northwest Airlink
partner, providing over 600 daily flights for Northwest Airlines.
Mesaba and its pilots have been at odds over job security, compensation,
retirement and work rules since June 2001 when contract talks commenced.
After the contract became amendable in 2002, both parties filed for
federal mediation to aid the process. Negotiations came to an impasse last
week, causing the NMB to offer binding arbitration to resolve the
remaining open issues. ALPA declined the offer, triggering the strike
“Our pilots have been waiting to be recognized for their contributions to
our airline since 1996. Unfortunately, a deadline appears to be necessary
to bring this process to a close,” stated ALPA spokesman and Mesaba pilot
Kris Pierson. “We believe it is in both parties best interest to work
together to resolve our differences.”
About half of Mesaba`s pilots make less than $32,000 per year, and
starting salaries are less than $17,000. Concessions in pay rates and a
contract extension in 1996 have saved Mesaba Airlines $12 million to date,
and facilitated the introduction of the AVRO RJ85 regional jet at Mesaba.
Mesaba serves 114 cities in 30 states and Canada from Northwest`s three
major hubs: Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Memphis. Mesaba employs 844
professional airline pilots who operate an advanced fleet of 103 regional
jet and jet-prop aircraft.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world`s largest pilot union representing
66,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit ALPA`s Web site
ALPA editorial, based on news release distributed by PR Newswire