Wed, Apr 04, 2012
Airline Group Announced Restructuring Plans Monday
he United Steelworkers (USW) today said that the union will continue its active engagement with Pinnacle Airlines Corp. in light of the company's federal bankruptcy filing and work to ensure that the union-represented employees retain a voice in their future with the company. Pinnacle announced Monday that the company would be seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while the company implements a number of cost-cutting measures and secures financing to help cover operating expenses aimed to keep the company afloat, including a $74.3 million loan from Delta, subject to court approval.
USW International President Leo W. Gerard said that the union's experience in negotiating labor contracts with financially distressed employers in a wide variety of industries and sectors will benefit both the company and over 2,600 union-represented flight attendants and ground crew personnel who have already been asked by Pinnacle to accept wage and benefit cuts.
"With the company giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in raises to its top two executives on the eve of seeking bankruptcy protection, management's call for other workers to accept cutbacks rings hollow," Gerard said. "In fairness, Pinnacle cannot expect our members to sacrifice without a commitment from top management to do the same."
Gerard said that the USW has dedicated attorneys to the Pinnacle bankruptcy and will maintain a presence at any hearings in the case, including one set for today, and will also seek a position on the Pinnacle creditors' committee. USW International Vice President Carol Landry said that the union needs to challenge the company for rewarding its top managers with hundreds of thousands in pay increases while at the same time threatening to eliminate USW members' jobs and demanding concessions.
"The men and women whose professionalism, experience and talent keep Pinnacle airplanes in the air and passengers safe will continue to do everything they can to support the company's restructuring and protect their jobs," Landry said, "but they shouldn't be expected to finance raises for executives. In addition, Pinnacle's workers, who are being asked to invest in Pinnacle's future, should be provided a means of sharing in any future improvements."
USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo said that restoring Pinnacle to a position of financial stability and strength will require a concerted effort by management and workers. "Our brothers and sisters at Pinnacle and its subsidiaries must remain strong in their solidarity and determination throughout the coming weeks and months," Flippo said. "Our unity is our best hope to survive the restructuring process with our jobs, pay and benefits intact."
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