Release #04.001
January 2, 2004

Support Rallies for ALPA’s Mesaba Pilots To Be Held Around the Nation; Informational Picketing Held at Airports as Strike Deadline Nears

MINNEAPOLIS --- Airline pilots will rally in major U.S. cities Monday to show support for Mesaba Airlines pilots as they enter their final week of negotiations before a Jan. 9 strike deadline. The rallies will begin after Mesaba pilots conduct informational picketing from 4:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. CST at the airports in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit, and Memphis.

The central rally will be held in Minneapolis and telecast to attendees at corresponding rallies in Detroit, Memphis and Cincinnati. Attendees at the rallies will include not only pilots, but other employees from Mesaba and their families. Pilots from Northwest Airlines, Pinnacle Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Comair, FedEx, Air Wisconsin, and others will join Mesaba pilots on the picket lines, as well as attend the rallies. All in attendance have one common goal which is to show support for the Mesaba pilots in their effort for a fair contract.

Prominent speakers include Capt. Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l. (ALPA), Capt. Mark McClain, chairman of the Northwest Airlines unit of ALPA, and Capt. Wakefield Gordon, chairman of the Pinnacle Airlines unit of ALPA.

"We are very fortunate to have the support of thousands of pilots and fellow airline employees," said Capt. Tom Wychor, chairman of the Mesaba Unit of ALPA. "Our pilots are prepared for any outcome this week, whether it is a new contract or a strike. This is largely due to the support from other airlines across the country."

Mesaba pilots are legally entitled to strike at 11:01 p.m. CST Jan. 9 if a new contract cannot be reached. In October, the pilots overwhelmingly (98 percent) voted to authorize a strike should union leaders call for a work stoppage. Key unresolved issues include job security, compensation, retirement and work rules. A Mesaba pilot’s annual starting salary is less than $17,000, while more than 400 of the 844 Mesaba pilots earn less than $32,500 a year.

Mesaba Airlines operates as a Northwest Jet Airlink and Northwest Airlink partner for Northwest Airlines. It 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 an advanced fleet of 100 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 the ALPA Web site at


ALPA CONTACT: Kris Pierson (612) 839-0789