Mediator joins Comair talks, new deadline set

 - January 23, 2007, 10:46 AM

A private mediator joined contract negotiations between Comair and its 1,500 pilots last month as part of a tentative settlement that saw the airline move the date on which it threatened to unilaterally impose pay cuts from December 30 to February 2. A new schedule of negotiations called for meetings on January 8, January 15 to 19 and January 29 to February 1 in Washington, D.C., and January 25 to 26 in Los Angeles. The labor crisis at Comair appeared headed for a climax when a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge gave Comair permission to impose $15.8 million worth of cuts if it couldn’t reach terms with the ALPA-represented pilots. The pilots have voted to strike if Comair chooses to follow that route. But two days before Comair’s original December 30 deadline, the sides agreed to continue talking. However, they have not given the mediator, Richard Bloch, authority to force changes or make any binding decisions.