Pilots picket outside Pinnacle Airlines headquarters - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Pilots picket outside Pinnacle Airlines headquarters

Pinnacle Airlines pilots picketed outside the regional airline's headquarters in downtown Memphis Wednesday to protest money they claim the company owes them. Pinnacle Airlines pilots picketed outside the regional airline's headquarters in downtown Memphis Wednesday to protest money they claim the company owes them.

(WMC-TV) - Pinnacle Airlines pilots picketed outside the regional airline's headquarters in downtown Memphis Wednesday to protest money they claim the company owes them.

Pilots said the airline is paying them late and not in full.  The picket came days after the company went bankrupt and weeks after top Pinnacle executives got pay raises.

"We're picketing to express our frustration with months and months of delayed paychecks and of paychecks that are inaccurate," said Pinnacle Master Executive Council Chairman Tom Wychor.

Pilots carried signs showing how much the regional carrier shorted them.  One pilot's sign read more than $1,000.  They said it is no way to treat employees.

"We have pilots here that are walking in this very line whose paychecks haven't been accurate in years," said Pinnacle Airlines First Officer Scott Davidson.  "It's pervasive and it's spreading and it's getting worse."

Flight attendants also joined the pilots.

"It's very frustrating," said Pinnacle Airlines flight attendant Andrew Martin.  "There are bills to pay.  I have a family to feed."

Davidson, who was born in Memphis, said the pay problems hurt his hometown.

"That's the money I could be using to put to our local economy," said Davidson.  "I could be going to a farmer's market and buying my groceries there, and that's money I'm not going to be spending in Memphis only because I don't have it."

Pilots said the recent bankruptcy creates insecurity, but they would not speak to the psychological impact of recent executive pay raises amid the employee pay discrepancies.

"I can't really speak to the raises the executives got," said Davidson.  "I just hope they, like all employees of this company, are being paid on time and accurately."

Pinnacle Airlines released the following statement:

"We are taking the situation very seriously and are working quickly to correct errors and improve our processes."

The airline said it is a result of pay errors compounded by a new payroll system.  They said the backlog has dropped from 3,000 employees to 70.

Wychor said the union cannot let up until everyone gets proper pay.

"We've had discussions with the company in the past and went through a payroll cycle and they said, 'We've got a solution,'" said Wychor.  "We go through the next payroll cycle and we have new problems that pop up and they say, 'We're on top of it.'"

Pilots said airline management is finally starting to communicate with employees about when they will get paid.  They have committed to monthly payroll meetings.

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