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Mesaba Aviation Reaches Tentative Pact With Union

October 30, 2006 By: Dan Butcher Travel Agent

Mesaba Aviation Inc. and the union that represents its pilots reached a tentative agreement on labor concessions, the airline—in a reorganization process—announced Saturday, the AP reports. The deal came five days after a bankruptcy judge blocked a potential strike by pilots, flight attendants and mechanics at the regional carrier, based in suburban Eagan. If a deal had not been reached, Mesaba had the authority from the judge to impose labor cost cuts of 17.5 percent. Flight attendants and mechanics are continuing to negotiate with the airline. Details of the agreement were not immediately released. Pilots have the right to accept or reject it. Mesaba, a feeder for Northwest Airlines Corp. that serves 88 cities in the U.S. and Canada, has faced pressure to reduce its operating costs. Mesaba is in a bidding war with other regional airlines to secure flying business from Northwest and other airlines. Mesaba filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors a year ago after Northwest skipped some payments. In a news release, Mesaba president John Spanjers called the talks a "challenging process" and praised the Air Line Pilots Association for working toward a solution. Tom Wychor, chairman of the Mesaba branch of the ALPA, said the union's 12-member executive council was reviewing the agreement.

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