Pinnacle Airlines to cut 900 positions

(WMC-TV) - Pinnacle Airlines is cutting 900 employees in their PinnPro Professional Ground Services division.

The unit provides services to Pinnacle and 14 other airlines at 11 different airports, including Memphis International.

As part of bankruptcy-related restructuring, Pinnacle Airlines decided to discontinue its PinnPro Professional Ground Services unit.

PinnPro employs 900 people nationwide. However, 68 full time and 330 part time employees in Memphis, including 10 managers, will soon be without jobs.

Action News 5 spoke to the United Steelworkers Union, which represents PinnPro employees, by phone Tuesday.

"The steelworkers union is outraged that more than 800 hardworking men and women through no fault of their own will be losing their jobs," said Tony Montana, United Steelworker's Union.

Joe Williams, spokesman for Pinnacle, released the following statement:

"We said when we started the restructuring process that we would have to make tough decisions for our business to emerge from Chapter 11 stronger and profitable. We are discontinuing unprofitable units as part of the reorganization plan and refocusing on our core business of flying."

PinnPro services include customer handling and check-in, baggage handling, aircraft cleaning, facility cleaning, skycap and wheelchair services.

Company officials say a much smaller version of ground operations will remain, although it will be significantly restructured.

"USW is committed to making sure Pinnacle management is held accountable throughout the bankruptcy process and will fight at the bargaining table," said Montana.

The changes are expected to be made over the next several months.

The Memphis hub ground-handling transition to a new vendor is projected to occur September 6.

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