Mesaba pilots set to vote on deal

Pilots of Mesaba Airlines will begin voting this Friday on the tentative contract agreement they reached with their employers earlier this moth, with the final results expected at the end of the month.
“It is an informational period right now,” said Kris Pierson, spokesperson for the Air Line Pilots Association International.
He explained the union has been travelling from city to city this week, informing the pilots of what is contained in the tentative deal so they can make an informed decision once the voting begins.
Pierson said question-and-answer periods would be held in Minneapolis, Detroit, Memphis, and Cincinnati.
Voting is slated to wrap up Jan. 30. “We should have the results by the end of the month,” Pierson said.
Mesaba pilots nearly went on strike almost two weeks ago when 11th-hour contract talks went into overtime.
The strike deadline had been set at 11:01 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 9, but with negotiations advancing well, the pilots agreed to temporarily extend the deadline without calling a strike.
The tentative deal was announced Sunday, Jan. 11.
Despite the deadline extension, some flights were cancelled Friday evening and Saturday, including eight at the Falls International Airport.
International Falls is one of some 20 communities across the U.S. that are served exclusively by Mesaba Airlines. About 20,000 people use the Falls airport every year, nearly one-quarter of whom are Canadian.
The main dispute between the pilots and the airline is salaries. The ALPA says Mesaba pilots are paid as much as 30 percent less than those at comparable regional airlines.
Details of the tentative agreement cannot be released until it has been ratified by the pilots.