Washington, D.C.- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division and Teamsters Local 1224 filed a lawsuit against Allegiant Air Friday afternoon, November 15, in the federal district court in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The lawsuit alleges that Allegiant Air is violating the Railway Labor Act by disregarding many of the provisions and protections contained in the Work Rules Agreement negotiated by Allegiant Air and AAPAG, the former independent union representing the pilots of Allegiant Air.
“Filing a federal lawsuit against Allegiant Air is not something we take pleasure in doing,” said Local 1224 President Daniel C. Wells. “It was a difficult decision and it is unfortunate that it had to come to this. However, when an employer simply chooses to ignore negotiated work rules as a daily practice, sometimes the only recourse a labor union has in defending the rights of an employee group is to file a lawsuit.”
Allegiant Air’s decision to unilaterally implement a preferential bid system, in violation of the existing scheduling rules, is one of the matters raised in the lawsuit. The pilots’ union contends that this is just the latest example in a long list of Allegiant Air’s disregard of the negotiated agreement that was reached with AAPAG.
“Allegiant Air and its top management have broken faith with their pilots; reaching agreements with the pilots and then violating those commitments at the first opportunity,” added Wells. “The company’s violation of current scheduling rules is a good case in point.”
Every carrier in the industry, including Allegiant Air, has known for nearly 18 months that it would be required to comply with new pilot fatigue rules beginning this January. Unlike other carriers whose pilots are represented by Teamsters Local 1224, though, Allegiant Air waited until this past summer to begin formulating a plan to comply with the new safety rules. The delayed response to the mandate created a false crisis which has been used as rationale to disregard the agreement held with the pilots.
From the union’s perspective, Allegiant Air has wasted a substantial amount of time and money. As the union pointed out in its comprehensive scheduling proposal, Allegiant Air can comply with the new safety rules without violating its scheduling agreement with the pilots; it has just chosen not to honor its commitment.
“Allegiant Air’s habit of breaking its commitments is not just bad business; but is a violation of the federal law,” said Local 1224 Chief Counsel Ed Gleason.
Other notable violations referenced in the lawsuit are Allegiant Air’s practice to cease pay-protecting pilots to attend and participate in safety initiatives such as the ASAP program and Flight Standards Review Board, making participation in these programs a burden for the individual pilot; and a change in the pilot’s loss of medical program causing a hardship for pilots who are unable to fly due to medical conditions.
The Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224 is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division and represents nearly 4000 members among ten air carriers that operate both passenger and cargo aircraft. Local 1224 is the certified bargaining unit that represents all flight crew members employed by ABX Air, Inc., Allegiant Air, Atlas Air, Inc., Brendan Airways, LLC, Horizon Air Industries, Inc., Hyannis Air Services, Inc., Kalitta Air, LLC, Miami Air International, Omni Air International, Silver Airways Corporation, and Southern Air, Inc.