March 14, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mesaba Labor Coalition to Rally Tomorrow in Minneapolis, Detroit and Memphis
MINNEAPOLIS -- Mesaba Airlines pilots, flight attendants and mechanics will rally with their families in Minneapolis, Detroit and Memphis on Wednesday, March 15 to demonstrate their steadfast opposition to management’s bankruptcy motion that seeks to reject their contracts and slash their wages and benefits to the lowest in the industry. The rally will be held at the Great Lakes Ballroom in the Mall of America in Bloomington and webcast via a live feed to satellite rallies in Detroit and Memphis.
The Mesaba Labor Coalition, formed by leaders of unions representing pilots, flight attendants and mechanics, is organizing this unprecedented joint employee rally. The coalition was created at the onset of Mesaba’s bankruptcy to fight what employees deemed were grossly unfair management demands for deep concessions from a company that had been consistently profitable and whose holding company retained $120 million in cash and equivalent assets.
Headlining the rally and voicing their support of Mesaba labor will be Michael Hatch, Minnesota’s Attorney General; Captain Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l; Pat Friend, president of the Association of Flight Attendants; and Ted Ludwig, president of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association Local 33.
“All of our groups have been negotiating with management for months to come to terms on new labor agreements that give the company significant savings and provide for a more competitive cost structure,” said Nate Winch, AMFA’s Mesaba representative for Minneapolis, “but these talks are progressing very slowly due to management’s unwillingness to budge off of their demands for cuts which would devastate many employees and lock us into a six-year, dead-end deal.”
“All Mesaba Labor Coalition families have a lot at stake and are hoping that management will see that the solution lies in good-faith negotiation, rather than litigation in court,” said Carla Rogat, Mesaba AFA president. “This rally is our way of bringing our members together to support each other, demonstrate our solidarity, and send a clear message to management. We are unified, and we will strike if management imposes its drastic unilateral wage and benefit cuts.”
That solidarity is backed by the pilots’ 98 percent strike authorization vote and 94 percent strike vote for flight attendants. The mechanics authorized a strike last year by a 92 percent margin.
“Employees don’t take a vote to strike lightly,” said Tom Wychor, chairman of the Mesaba ALPA unit. “If management is allowed to impose its terms and they actually do it, Mesaba’s labor groups will have no other option than to strike or to walk away from these jobs. Either scenario will devastate this company. But some jobs just aren’t worth keeping when you’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on an education, licenses and experience and still can’t provide for your family.”
Specific information on the simulcast rally is below:
Mall of America - Great Lakes Ballroom
Hilton Memphis - Tennessee Grand Ballroom
The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport
- Lindbergh B
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SOURCE: Mesaba Airlines Labor Coalition
MSP - Jeff Orschel, (202) 352-6818
MEM - Scott Sherrin, (901) 409-0325
DTW - Rusty Ayers, (847) 323-9519