Release #04.004
January 11, 2004


Mesaba Pilots, Management Reach Tentative Deal, Avert Strike

BLOOMINGTON, MN --- Having permitted negotiations to continue beyond their strike deadline of 11:01 pm CST January 9, the Mesaba pilots’ union leaders this evening announced they have reached a tentative contract agreement with management. A product of exhaustive negotiations, including around-the-clock talks for the past 24 hours, the proposed terms have already received the approval of the pilots’ Master Executive Council and await a ratification vote of the membership.

“After two-and-a-half years of arduous negotiations, the union leaders are gratified to present this tentative agreement to the Mesaba pilots,” said Capt. Tom Wychor, chairman of the Mesaba pilots’ unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l. “Our pilot negotiators completed an impressive bargaining effort. I am very proud of their skill, determination and patience in meticulously working through all 31 contract sections to substantially improve our pilots’ work lives and advance our profession’s standards.”

“Mesaba pilots and their families, along with Northwest and Pinnacle pilots, rallied behind our negotiating team and never wavered in their support. This was truly a group effort,” said Wychor. “We held our ground on contract goals and believe that this new agreement will satisfy the pilots’ requirements for strong job security, improved work rules, appropriate pay, and a solid retirement plan. This tentative agreement allows Mesaba pilots to move forward in their careers, but it also gives management the latitude to grow our company.”

The negotiators and union leaders will launch communications including road shows to inform the pilots about the tentative agreement as soon as all of the final language is drafted. Pilots will vote electronically and a simple majority is required to ratify the contract.

“We are heartened by our management team’s willingness to remain at the table and work with us to find a way to meet the goals of our pilots and airline,” said Wychor. “We hope that this collaboration marks the beginning of a new era of labor relations for our proud carrier.”

Mesaba Airlines operates as a Northwest Jet Airlink and Northwest Airlink partner for Northwest Airlines. Mesaba serves 112 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 a fleet of 103 small-jet and jet-prop aircraft. Read more about the Mesaba pilots at

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing 66,000 pilots at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at

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SOURCE: Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA)

ALPA CONTACT: Kris Pierson – 612-839-0789