Turning a token of corporate gratitude into a symbol of disgruntlement, a Horizon Air worker is auctioning on eBay a mug the company gave him last week. Painted with the words...

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Turning a token of corporate gratitude into a symbol of disgruntlement, a Horizon Air worker is auctioning on eBay a mug the company gave him last week.

Painted with the words “Thanks for all your hard work in 2004,” the mug and its contents were not thanks enough for the mechanic trying to sell it anonymously at a starting bid of $100.

“The mechanics at Horizon Air have had no raises in years, but thankfully the raises and bonuses never end for our upper management,” the seller writes sarcastically in a diatribe accompanying a photo of the mug on eBay.

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Alaska Air Group, which runs the regional airline as well as Alaska Airlines, recently granted its top executives restricted stock units that vest in November 2007 and would be worth about $1.5 million based on yesterday’s closing share price of $32.30. Jeff Pinneo, who runs Horizon, received restricted stock units worth $157,301 by that measure.

In an effort to cut costs by more than $300 million, Alaska Air Group has announced the layoff of hundreds of workers. Mechanics at Horizon, among the lowest-paid in the industry, have been in contract talks with the airline for nearly two years, including mediation since August.

“[M]y kids want a PlayStation 2 from Santa,” the mechanic writes on eBay. “I thought they could make up a clever sign, stand near a Freeway on ramp, and hold out the fine china cup to be filled with the Spirit of Christmas by total strangers. But there was someone already there, so I decided to sell this priceless Fine China cup to the highest bidder.”

The mechanic is certain that the mug, which he tagged online as “Horizon Air Collectable Fine China, My Christmas Bonus,” is indeed fine china, he writes, “because when I turn it over, it says china, in fine letters.”

“It’s hilarious,” Eric Weeks, president of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association Local 14 in Seattle, said of the posting. “It summarizes in a very succinct way the feeling of the value that the technicians’ company places on them.”

A spokeswoman for Horizon said the mugs, given to all of the airline’s roughly 3,800 employees, were intended as thank-you gifts, not Christmas bonuses.

As for the auction, the spokeswoman, Jen McSkimming, said, “We’re aware of it, but we haven’t really paid much attention to it.”

One of the two people bidding for the mug yesterday afternoon was someone calling himself “mrjeffpinneo.”

McSkimming said the bidder is not the Jeff Pinneo who runs Horizon Air.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com