Monday, August 24, 2009

Pinnacle Airlines pilots to vote next month on new collective bargaining agreement

by B .N. Sullivan

Pinnacle Airlines logoThe leaders of the pilots' union at Pinnacle Airlines have approved a tentative contract agreement reached recently between the union negotiating team and the airline's management. The union announced today that the tentative agreement will now be sent out to the membership for ratification.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents Pinnacle Airlines' 1282 pilots, says that the new agreement provides for pay increases, work rule improvements, job protection provisions and a significant signing bonus. The tentative agreement will be distributed to all Pinnacle pilots during the next few days and a series of road shows to address pilots’ questions and concerns will be scheduled to begin in the near future. A vote will be conducted in September.

In a statement to the press, Captain Scott Erickson, chairman of the Pinnacle unit of ALPA, said, “After more than four and a half years of grueling contract negotiations, our negotiating committee obtained a deal we can confidently send to the pilots for their vote. I believe there is something in this agreement that benefits every Pinnacle pilot and I’m confident our pilots will feel the same way.”

The path to the new tentative agreement has been long and often contentious. The pilots’ contract became amendable May 1, 2005, and contract negotiations began in February 2005. Pinnacle pilots and management entered mediated negotiations with the National Mediation Board in late September 2006.

The pilots are the only Pinnacle Airlines employee group that has not had a raise in more than five years.