Friday, March 21, 2008

Arbitrator says Pinnacle Airlines violated pilots' contractual rights

Pinnacle Airlines logoScore one for the pilots' side, in the continuing saga of acrimonious negotiations between the management of Pinnacle Airlines and its pilots' union. Yesterday, an arbitrator ruled that the pilots’ contractual rights were violated when management refused to meet and discuss labor protection issues with them, following the acquisition of Colgan Air in early 2007.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the union representing Pinnacle pilots, issued a news release announcing the arbitration ruling, saying:
The arbitrator ruled that Pinnacle’s “consistent failure to distinguish between the two corporate entities provides persuasive evidence that Pinnacle Airlines Corp. and Pinnacle Airlines, Inc. were alter egos functioning as a single employer at the time of the acquisition of Colgan by PNCL,” and concluded, “… because PNCL and PAI were alter egos functioning as a single employer when PNCL acquired Colgan …” the company violated the labor protection section of the collective bargaining agreement with the pilots.
The chairman of Pinnacle unit of ALPA, Capt. Scott Erickson, called it "a major victory for us."

“We are very pleased with the arbitrator’s recognition that Pinnacle violated our contract when they refused to negotiate with us after buying Colgan Air,” Erickson said. “We hope this ruling puts an end to managements’ continued quest to deny us our contractual rights, prompting it to negotiate a contract that adequately compensates us for our dedication and sacrifice to this airline.”

For more than three years, Pinnacle pilots and management have been in contract negotiations, which have often been characterized as "contentious." They are currently working under a contract that became amendable in May of 2005. A mediator assigned by the National Mediation Board has been involved in the negotiating process since fall 2006.