December 10, 2008
Mesa Pilots Ratify New Contract with
Pilots express need for company to build trust, follow contract to be successful
PHOENIX – After years of working under a substandard contract, the Mesa Air Group [NASDAQ: MESA] pilots, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), today ratified a new agreement that contains numerous industry-standard and industry-leading provisions. However, the pilot group was split nearly even on their support for this agreement, indicating that much work still needs to be done by the company to provide the necessary benefits and stability for Mesa and its codeshare partners, investors, and passengers.
“This new agreement represents a step forward for all Mesa pilots,” said Capt. Kevin Wilson, chairman of the ALPA unit at Mesa. “No concessions were made for this contract, which is no small feat, given the state of our company and the industry. Thanks to our negotiators and the support of ALPA, we were able to achieve significant quality of life and other improvements at or above industry average.”
The Mesa pilots’ contract became amendable in September 2007. Facing an industry in crisis due to a slowing economy and skyrocketing fuel prices, the Mesa Master Executive Council (MEC), which is the governing body of the Mesa pilot group, pursued an expedited process for a short-term agreement that would significantly improve the lives of their pilots, attract and retain professional pilots, and place the Mesa pilots at the forefront of the next bargaining cycle. After just 10 months of negotiations, the Negotiating Committee reached a Tentative Agreement (TA) with the company. On October 2, the MEC approved this TA to go to the membership for ratification, and the vote closed today with nearly 77 percent of eligible pilots voting on this agreement. Of the votes cast, 51 percent of pilots voted in favor of the agreement.
“Many pilots voiced their distrust in the company during the road shows and expressed their lack of faith in the company’s desire to abide by any agreement,” added Capt. Wilson. “Trust is an integral part of any agreement, and we have communicated our pilots’ concerns to the company. While changes are taking place, the outcome of this vote is a clear indication that there is still much work to be done.”
This new collective bargaining agreement will provide Mesa pilots with immediate scheduling and quality-of-life improvements, including a true definition of scheduled or actual flying time and the implementation of a Preferential Bidding System (PBS) that will allow the pilots to have more control over their schedules. Additionally, the pilots can expect to be back at the bargaining table in 21 months to work toward more improvements with what they hope will be a healthier company in a more stable industry.
ALPA is the bargaining agent for the nearly 1,200 pilots at Mesa Air Group, which includes Mesa and Freedom Airlines. ALPA represents 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit ALPA’s website at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA Contacts: Lydia Jakub, 602-306-1116 or
Linda Shotwell or Molly Martin, 703-481-4440 or firstname.lastname@example.org