Mesaba workers protest as talks continue

Mesaba pilots at U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis
Mesaba pilots and supporters protested at the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis. They're unhappy with the airline's positions at the bargaining table and decisions by bankruptcy judge Gregory Kishel.
MPR Photo

Mesaba has so far refraining from imposing wage and other cuts on employees, even though it had court approval to do that after 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

Pilot union leader Tom Wychor says he's encouraged by the direction of the talks.

"Of course we're very pleased. If progress is being made we don't want to upset the status quo and nor do they," says Wychor. "As long as progress is being made, we should all stay where we are and keep working at the table to try to get the agreement that will work for the company and the employees."

Mesaba's union workers and supporters rallied at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis to protest a bankruptcy judge's rulings that let Mesaba impose pay cuts and blocked strikes. Rallies were also planned in Detroit and Memphis.

Mesaba has been seeking a 17.5 percent reduction in its annual labor costs. Pilots say the airline is now looking for six percent wage cuts from them, along with other givebacks. From its mechanics, Mesaba wants an 11 percent wage cut and other concessions.