Pinnacle Airlines’ Pilots Unite In Affirming New Labor Contract


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Pinnacle Airlines’ Pilots Unite In Affirming New Labor Contract

By Bill Goldston

February 21, 2011 - The nearly 3,000 pilots flying under the Pinnacle Airlines Corp. banner on Friday approved an historic joint collective bargaining agreement (JCBA) that increases pilots’ pay and benefits, secures their careers, and raises the bar for all airline pilots.

Votes were cast by nearly 87 percent of the eligible Pinnacle Airlines, Mesaba Airlines and Colgan Air pilots—all of whom are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA). A convincing 90.5 percent ratified the agreement. 

“After a long road of negotiations, Pinnacle pilots have secured a new working agreement that properly compensates and recognizes the professional pilots who have been the motive force of Pinnacle Airlines’ successful and profitable operation,” said Capt. Scott Erickson, Pinnacle Master Executive Council (MEC) chairman.

“By unifying with Mesaba and Colgan, we met and exceeded our goals for the contract and broke new ground for the industry.” 

“This contract secures our future in this volatile industry,” said Capt. Mark Nagel, Mesaba MEC chairman. “Mesaba pilots know the value of job security and how that goes hand in hand with protecting core aspects of the business. With industry-leading wages and work rules, Pinnacle and Colgan pilots join us in looking ahead to a bright future.” 

“This begins a new era for Colgan pilots who have never worked under a contract,” said Capt. Mark Segaloff, Colgan MEC chairman. “It signifies the commitment of management to properly compensate, protect, and respect the professional pilots at all three of the Pinnacle Airlines Corp. carriers.” 

The five-year agreement goes into effect tomorrow, providing pilots with first-rate job security. All current and future flying done by Pinnacle Airlines Corp. companies will be performed by pilots under the new contract. Pay rates are substantially improved with half of the pilot group receiving 15% raises on average.


Retirement benefits have improved along with new work rules that will enhance quality of life and provide for appropriate rest and duty cycles which are crucial to maintaining safe operations. The contract, which was negotiated in only 102 days and unanimously endorsed by the Pinnacle, Colgan and Mesaba union leadership in January, also paves the way for the smooth integration of Pinnacle Airlines Corp.’s operations and positions the airlines for continued growth and prosperity as one of world’s largest providers of regional airline services. 

“This contract is a powerful example of how successful ALPA pilots can be when they engage in a coordinated effort and execute a collective plan,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president. The Pinnacle, Mesaba and Colgan pilot leaders carried out their unified vision for the contract and both the pilots and their merged airline will realize tangible benefits. This agreement also raises the bar for all airline pilots, advancing ALPA’s goal of enhancing our profession.” 

The next step in merging the three groups is to create a single, integrated seniority list. The Pinnacle, Mesaba and Colgan merger committees have begun negotiations on a joint list, which is scheduled to be in place by May 1. Once the integrated seniority list has been finalized, the three MECs will reorganize into a single MEC and elect new officers, completing the pilot merger process. 

Pinnacle Airlines Corp. is the parent company of Pinnacle Airlines, Colgan Air and Mesaba Airlines. Pinnacle Airlines does business as a Delta Connection carrier. Mesaba Airlines does business as Delta Connection and US Airways Express. Colgan Air does business as Continental Connection, United Express and US Airways Express. The combined carriers operate more than 290 aircraft in cities across 45 states in the U.S., as well as cities in Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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