October 6, 2006
Pinnacle Pilots Demonstrate in Detroit
More than 80 Pinnacle pilots, joined by nearly 20 pilots from Mesaba and Spirit Airlines, participated in a Pinnacle informational picketing event and rally at Detroit Wayne County Metropolitan Airport earlier this week. Despite a fast-moving cold front that disrupted flying and made for a windy picketing experience, all the marching pilots felt energized after walking the line. This is the first picketing the pilot group has conducted since 1996.
Pinnacle pilots were picketing to protest their management’s refusal to earnestly participate in the negotiations process and its misguided attempt to force a substandard deal that does not recognize the pilots’ contributions to Pinnacle’s success, Management has offered no plan to reward the pilots when Pinnacle grows, and has even launched a disinformation campaign designed to scare pilot families.
ALPA’s president, Capt. Duane Woerth, and the Mesaba MEC chairman, Capt. Tom Wychor, were speakers at the rally.
“Pilot costs account for 4 percent of an airline’s operation,” Capt. Woerth said. “So, how can 4 percent solve 100 percent of the problem? Sometimes you’ve really got to stare them down and see who blinks first.”
Woerth explained that a strong scope clause is crucial to any successful negotiation. Pinnacle management is refusing to identify its holding company in the pilot’s new collective bargaining agreement and reserves the right to create, on another certificate, another airline that will fly with nonunion pilots.
“That is just NOT acceptable,” said the Pinnacle MEC chairman, Capt. Wake Gordon. “We are fighting for our careers and the right to stand up and have the dignity we deserve as airline pilots. No contract is worth its weight in gold without a strong scope clause.”
“We have to fight for what we want,” he added, “because management isn’t just going to give it to us. Any career worth having is worth fighting for.”
All pilots who participated in the event received “I walked the line” badge backers.
In any fight, you need the right tools and the right people standing in your corner. During an informational picketing event and rally in Detroit, Pinnacle pilots voiced their staunch support of Mesaba pilots in their fight against Mesaba management and provided the right “tools” in the form of autographed boxing gloves for their ongoing battle. At left is Capt. Tony Shaw, Pinnacle LEC 128 vice chairman and first officer rep, and Capt. Tom Wychor, the Mesaba MEC chairman.