State of the Airlines

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mesaba Unions Offer up Concessions Deal

Its no secret that Mesaba Airlines is one sick puppy right now. That'll happen when your biggest stakeholder, Northwest Airlines, decides to goes bankrupt, doesn't pay you , sends a big chunk of your airplanes back to the leasing companies that own them and...oh yeah...opens its own regional airline to compete with you.

Mesaba is now working its own bankruptcy recovery and has asked the court to allow them to terminate existing labor contracts with pilots, flight attendants and mechanics. Initially the courts approved that request but the ruling was quickly overturned. While management at Mesaba regroups a coalition group representing the pilots, flight attendants and mechanics unions has presented their own plan to, in their words, "with an unprecedented joint offer to save their airline, their jobs, and their contracts".

Interesting approach, certainly a refreshing one given some of the antics from other unions. At face value it appears that the "Mesaba Labor Coalition" has done the homework and is taking a balanced approach. It certainly places pressure on Mesaba management to take a careful look at the plan before rebutting it. No doubt the bankruptcy court will be watching closely how Mesaba handles this. Mesaba's previous effort to throw out the union contracts was overturned with a fairly strong rebuff that "...Mesaba had failed to demonstrate that its proposed contract spread the burden of reorganization fairly among all affected parties.". Game on!

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