Release #04.002
January 6, 2004

Pinnacle Pilots Express Support for Fellow Northwest Airlink Pilots at Mesaba

MINNEAPOLIS --- At last night’s Minneapolis rally to support the pilots of Mesaba Airlines, Capt. Wakefield Gordon, chairman of the Pinnacle Airlines unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), announced that the Pinnacle pilot leadership had unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Mesaba pilots in their efforts to negotiate a fair and reasonable labor contract.

The resolution outlines the manner in which the Pinnacle pilots can lawfully exercise their rights under the Railway Labor Act (RLA) to honor Mesaba pilot picket lines and to "demonstrate a peaceful, lawful show of solidarity" for these fellow Northwest Airlink pilots, by refusing to perform struck work while maintaining normal preexisting Pinnacle operations.

"The word ‛family’ describes how Pinnacle pilots feel toward Mesaba pilots and their contract struggle – a struggle that concerns all of us in the Airlink system," said Capt. Gordon to the hundreds in attendance at the rally. "We understand that we are in this together and that we must always maintain a strong, constructive bond with you."

If the Mesaba pilots and management are unable to reach an agreement by 11:01 p.m. CST on Friday, Jan. 9, 2004, the Mesaba pilots may legally declare a strike. The two parties are in a 30-day cooling-off period, following more than two years of contract negotiations including a year of federal mediation. In June 2003, ALPA filed a federal lawsuit against Mesaba Airlines alleging its management engaged in bad-faith bargaining tactics during the protracted talks. Little progress has been made toward an agreement on a new contract.

"We know that we could be a linchpin in this conflict if Airlink management tries to cover their losses during a strike by expanding Pinnacle operations in Mesaba territory," Gordon stated. "The pilots in the Northwest system are family, and we look out for our own."

Pinnacle and Mesaba Airlines fly under the Northwest Airlines code as Northwest Airlink and provide feed to the mainline carrier as well as point-to-point service to numerous locations throughout the United States.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilot union, representing more than 66,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the United States and Canada, including more than 600 Pinnacle pilots. Visit the ALPA Web site at


ALPA CONTACT: David Berkley (703) 481-4440