Release #06.MSA11
October 23, 2006

Court Denies Mesaba Unions’ Right to Strike – Pilots Outraged

BLOOMINGTON, MINN – Mesaba pilots are infuriated by the Bankruptcy Court’s decision to strip them of their legal right to strike if Mesaba management imposes terms of pay and working conditions that would put Mesaba employees below industry standards. The court’s decision, which is a complete departure from well-established legal precedent, will be appealed by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA).

“The court’s decision today exposes just why the United States – the home of democracy – is on the Human Rights Watch List. In no country in the developed world have basic workers’ freedoms been so completely undermined,” said Captain Duane E. Woerth, ALPA’s president. “The Bankruptcy Court, with its decision, is trampling on the basic rights of workers and the foundation upon which this nation was built. ALPA will spare no effort or resource to reverse this decision and protect our pilots’ fundamental rights.”

“We will not stand for this injustice,” Captain Tom Wychor, chairman of the ALPA unit at Mesaba, said. “Under the law, if your contract gets rejected, you don’t have to perform under that contract. No bankruptcy court has recognized any exception under the statutes until today.”

Mesaba pilots had planned to strike if management imposed its terms, in an effort to compel management to negotiate a consensual agreement. “We will follow the court's order today, but we will aggressively appeal the edict,” Wychor assured.

“Mesaba pilots will not be ‘shackled to their aircraft’ by this court decision,” Wychor said. “Management cannot force people to work under imposed terms. Our professionals will work elsewhere, and to that end we have scheduled a job fair. The turnover rate at Mesaba is already a liability to Mesaba’s future success – and if they choose to impose now, it will be the airline’s undoing.”

The Air Line Pilots Association, along with Mesaba Labor Coalition partners, the Association of Flight Attendants – CWA and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, implore Mesaba management to stay the imposition of terms and come to consensus with its unions.

“Even in the face of this appalling verdict, we are ready and willing to continue to negotiate with Mesaba management on a deal because that is the only way this airline will survive,” said Wychor.

Founded in 1931, ALPA celebrates its 75th anniversary this year representing 61,000 pilots, including 850 Mesaba pilots, at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at for more information.

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ALPA Contact: Kris Pierson, 612-839-0789