November 27, 2006
Mesaba Labor Coalition Unions Approve Tentative Agreements
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Mesaba Airlines’ pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) respectively, today announced that their members have all ratified tentative agreements that reduce labor costs by approximately 15%.
“Management’s insistence that all employees take 19.4% cuts in wages and benefits over six years was so drastic that our unions naturally came together to protect our members’ interests,” said Mesaba MEC Chairman Capt. Tom Wychor. “I’m proud that we were able to work so well together across employee lines, and I expect this collaboration to continue far into the future. Our success stemmed directly from the unity demonstrated by the Mesaba Labor Coalition.”
ALPA’s agreement was passed by 68.35% of the
89.7% of eligible members voting. AFA-CWA’s agreement was passed by 81.9% of the
64% of eligible members voting. AMFA’s agreement was passed by 64.8% of the 82%
of eligible members voting.
“We hope that the sacrifices we are making will allow our airline to exit bankruptcy,” said AFA-CWA Mesaba Master Executive Council President Tim Evenson.
“While no worker wants to agree to wage reductions,” said Nathan Winch, AMFA’s Local 33 airline representative, “our members made the difficult decision to make sacrifices and help prevent this airline’s liquidation. We just hope that the company puts these savings to good use.”
Last year, the Mesaba Labor Coalition was formed to fight against management’s strategy to use the bankruptcy process to drastically alter employee wages and benefits. Mesaba originally attempted to impose cuts of 19.4% and health insurance increases of up to 66%. The leadership of all three unions knew that these cuts were not justified, and they also knew that their membership would not agree to them. Through their unity, the Coalition was extremely successful in mitigating the level of the cuts and in slowing Mesaba’s litigation strategy by obtaining two victories from the courts.
With new consensual agreements slated to take effect December 1, 2006, the Mesaba Labor Coalition expects that Mesaba will be able to successfully emerge from bankruptcy next year. “The company’s bankruptcy has taken a huge toll on us all, and we’ve lost many of the people who built this company to other employers,” said Wychor. “I hope that management recognizes all the employees’ contributions and begins to treat them with greater respect and appreciation.”
Mesaba Airlines operates as a Northwest Airlink partner under a service agreement with Northwest Airlines. Mesaba currently flies over 460 flights into Minneapolis, Detroit, and Memphis to 112 cities throughout the United States and Canada.
For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill. More than 46,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world’s largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afanet.org.
Maintenance technicians at Mesaba are represented by AMFA, a craft oriented, independent aviation union created in 1962 with over 16,000 members at eight airlines. Visit the AMFA website at www.amfanatl.org.
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 www.alpa.org for more information.
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SOURCE: Mesaba Airlines Labor Coalition
ALPA CONTACT: Kris Pierson, 612-839-0789
AMFA CONTACT: Nathan Winch, 612-203-8878
AFA CONTACT: Carla Rogat, 612-801-4141