ALPA's Communications Department provides information and support for news media inquiries. An ALPA communications representative can be reached in the Herndon, Va. office at (703) 481-4440.

News Release

Release #02.056
June 19, 2002

Mesaba Airline Pilots Apply For Federal Mediation To Speed Up Contract Talks

BLOOMINGTON, MN – The pilots of Mesaba Airlines, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), have petitioned the National Mediation Board for assistance in contract negotiations with Mesaba Airlines management after a year of contract talks. Pilots are dissatisfied with the slow pace of negotiations and the lack of progress made in the past year of bargaining.

Mesaba pilots’ current collective bargaining agreement was reached in 1996 and became amendable June 1, 2002. Pilots have been operating under a side letter to the contract, which granted major concessions to the airline along with a two-year contract extension. The concessions began in October 1996, not long after the original contract was signed.

Pilots and management entered into negotiations in June 2001 in hopes of completing a new agreement by the amendable date of June 2002. "Though we have not yet attained a fair contract that recognizes Mesaba pilots’ many contributions to the success of our company, we remain optimistic that mediation will assist us in realizing our goals," said Captain Tom Wychor, chairman of the ALPA unit at Mesaba Airlines.

As the only employee group to give the airline concessions in 1996, pilots played a significant role in the airline’s fleet growth and prosperity, with profits rising from $6.9 million in FY96 to a high of $31 million in FY2000.

Mesaba Aviation, Inc. d/b/a Mesaba Airlines operates as a Northwest Jet Airlink and Airlink partner under code-sharing agreements with Northwest Airlines. Currently, the airline serves 102 cities in 25 states and Canada from Northwest’s and Mesaba’s three major hubs—Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Memphis. Mesaba operates an advanced fleet of 113 regional jet and jet-prop aircraft, consisting of the 69-passenger Avro RJ85 and the 30–34-passenger Saab SF340.

Representing more than 66,000 pilots at 43 airlines in the United States and Canada, including 971 pilots who fly for Mesaba airlines, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilots union. Visit the ALPA website at:

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ALPA Contacts: Anya Piazza and Stacy Platone (703) 481-4440