Pilots for Pinnacle Airlines begin voting Friday on a new contract that includes a 9 percent pay cut designed to stabilize the money-losing carrier as it works itself through bankruptcy.
Pilots have 10 days to cast their ballots on a tentative agreement that includes cost reductions that cover pay, retirement, work rules and benefits. The proposed contract was negotiated after a bankruptcy judge denied Pinnacle's request to reject the existing contract.
"All sides were pushed well beyond where they wanted to be but it was better than the alternative," said Tom Wychor, chairman of the Pinnacle unit of the Air Line Pilots Association.
Pinnacle, the main regional carrier of Delta Air Lines, serves the Twin Cities with an average of 80 departures a day. It is based in Memphis. Pinnacle acquired Eagan-based Mesaba Airlines in 2010. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2012.