Pinnacle Pilots: Family Need before Corporate Greed

More than 40 pilots participated in a Pinnacle pilots' informational picketing event demonstrating their dissatisfaction with management’s refusal to enter into serious contract negotiations

At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Wednesday, November 8, under sunny skies and with unusually warm temps in the 70s, the pilots marched in two orbits carrying signs that read “Family Need Before Corporate Greed” and “REAL Pilots; REAL Airline; REAL Contract.” Pinnacle first officers carried signs that read “I make $22,000 a year.”

ALPA pilots from Champion, Continental, ExpressJet, Mesaba, and US Airways joined their brothers and sisters in expressing frustration over stalled negotiations that have lasted more than a year.

During a rally held after the picketing, the Champion MEC chairman, Capt. Matt Marsh, expressed his pilot group's unwavering support. “We came here today, we marched together, and we told management, enough is enough,” said Marsh. “We are career professionals, and we will not tolerate being treated as anything less.”

Capt. Chris Beebe, ALPA's vice-president–finance/treasurer, assured attendees that ALPA resources are fully behind the Pinnacle pilots, while Capt. Tom Wychor, the Mesaba MEC chairman, announced that his pilot group has stopped the race to the bottom with their recent TA. “Because of the support we had from you and others during our recent struggles with management, we have a TA that will eventually put us among the industry leaders,” he stated. “You should expect nothing less.”

The Pinnacle MEC chairman, Capt. Wake Gordon, was attending recurrent training in Memphis and was unable to attend the rally. Pinnacle management denied all union leave for the month of November, after an informational picketing event and rally in Detroit October 4. Gordon and ALPA's president, Capt. Duane Woerth, did send a taped message to the group, and Gordon also addressed those rallying via speakerphone.

The Pinnacle pilots will host a third event December 5 in Memphis, and all ALPA pilots are invited to attend. Details will be released as they become available.

Beebe summed the situation up best when he said, “This is not just about Pinnacle, this is about the entire piloting profession.”