The pilots of Allegiant Air authorize a strike

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) is facing a possible strike by its pilots. The Airline Professionals Association (APA) Teamsters Local 1224 issued this statement yesterday:

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Pilots at Allegiant Air, represented by the Airline Professionals Association (APA) Teamsters Local 1224, voted overwhelmingly, 465-8, on January 16 to authorize a strike against Allegiant Air. The 10-day voting period closed at 12:00 p.m. EST January 16, with 98 percent of voting Allegiant Air pilots voting “Yes” to authorize the union to call a strike if necessary.

“This does not mean that a strike is going to happen tomorrow or even next week,” said APA Teamsters Local 1224 President Daniel Wells. “It does, however, mean that the situation is fluid. If Allegiant continues to stonewall in negotiations and continues to disregard the federal court’s injunction ordering it to restore the pilots’ work rules, then a pilot strike at Allegiant Air will be very realistic.”

In early January, the union’s leadership decided to put a formal strike authorization vote out to the membership, based on a deadlock in negotiations and Allegiant Air’s continued failure to abide by a July 2014 federal court injunction directing Allegiant Air to restore the pilots’ work rule protections and benefits to previously negotiated levels.

“Virtually every pilot voted to authorize a strike,” Wells said. “That speaks volumes.”

With this kind of support, the union intends to move forward by seeking a proffer from the National Mediation Board (NMB) under the Railway Labor Act’s dispute provisions. Once this has been completed, or to the extent that Allegiant remains unwilling to restore the pilots’ work rule protections and benefits, the pilots would be free to conduct a legal strike in the near future.

The pilots have been in negotiations with Allegiant Air for two years with little to no progress. Their first negotiation session began in December of 2012 – with mediated negotiations beginning in April 2014 – and still the company cannot reach agreement with the union on even the most basic conditions in their negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.

“No one wants to strike,” Wells said. “We would rather be able to make some real progress in direct negotiations. However, the pilots haven’t seen any real progress in over two years.”

In just two years, three employee groups, encompassing all of Allegiant Air’s operational personnel, have joined national labor unions, indicating that the issues at hand in this battle extend far beyond basic management-employee relations. In addition to basic compensation and work rules, the issues center on safety concerns and operational deficiencies that cannot be resolved without the company’s willingness to begin reinvesting directly into the company’s operation. The pilots contend that vital changes are needed for Allegiant’s long-term success, before it’s too late.

Teamster pilots with Allegiant Air conducted informational picketing on Tuesday at McCarran International Airport and Allegiant Air Corporate Headquarters in Las Vegas, as well as at St Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Florida, to make the public aware of their fight for infrastructural investments into Allegiant Air’s operational systems, basic industry averages in salary and for other job protection measures that are standard in the airline industry.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air is one of the most profitable airlines in the world, reporting a profit for 47 consecutive quarters. Its executives are among the highest compensated in the industry, yet its pilots are among the lowest paid and are subject to substandard working conditions in comparison to the rest of the industry.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-204 N905NV (msn 27235) arrives back at the Las Vegas base from Honolulu.

Allegiant Air aircraft slide show: