US regional carrier group Pinnacle Airlines, which is facing a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing, has requested a deeper 7% wage cut from its employees as it seeks to restructure.
The airline had previously proposed a 5% pay cut. "Management has now proposed to reduce the wages of USW-represented employees by 7%, instead of its prior demand for 5% reductions," said the United Steelworkers union in a letter yesterday to its members.
"Your union is conducting an in-depth analysis of management's new demands and is evaluating whether this demand is fair and equitable," it added, saying that the union's analysis will continue into the coming week.
The USW represents Pinnacle's flight attendants and ground operations agents and Pinnacle subsidiary Colgan Air's flight attendants.
The airline announced a cost reduction programme in December 2011, following a third quarter pre-tax loss of $5 million. It then initiated talks with employees on new tentative agreements and had planned to have them ratified by 16 January, but has missed this deadline.
On 19 January, Pinnacle's CEO Sean Menke said the airline "may ultimately conclude the best way for us to achieve our goal is to use the court-supervised Chapter 11 process", saying that the carrier's challenges "are more severe than had been forecasted".
He added that the company's overall situation will "continue to worsen at an alarming rate".
The USW said it would return to talks with the airline's management after it completes its review of the deeper wage cuts and put the tentative agreement to union members for ratification if a tentative agreement is struck.