(WILMINGTON, Ohio) – Teamster pilots with Allegiant Air are conducting informational picketing today in an effort to bring awareness to their plight for 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.
Informational picketing events are taking place today 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.
“The pilots have been in negotiations with Allegiant Air for two years – too long – with little to no progress,” said Daniel Wells, president of Teamsters Local 1224 in Wilmington, Ohio. “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.”
As ongoing talks continue to be unproductive, the pilots will show their resolve, and these informational picketing events may just be the beginning. Last month, phone polls conducted among active Allegiant Air pilots indicated that the pilots are ready and willing to conduct a legal strike against Allegiant Air should it become necessary.
“Three employee groups – the pilots, flight attendants and dispatchers, that is to say ALL of their operational personnel – having organized in two years, should give cause for concern to investors that despite earnings, all is not well at Allegiant Air,” Wells said. “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.
Short-sighted decisions to avoid reinvesting in the company’s operational systems have resulted in major service disruptions, including multiple fleet shutdowns, chronic staffing and equipment shortages, third-party contracting for scheduled flights and sub-servicing.
Knowing the facts, one can see why the pilots and other employee groups have heartburn with Allegiant Air consistently offering generous returns to management and investors – $170-plus million, including more than $35 million over the last few months to its largest shareholder, the president and CEO – while employee requests to reinvest in the company’s badly needed infrastructure, internal systems, training and wages are ignored.
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 paid in the industry, yet its pilots are among the lowest paid pilots and are subject to substandard working conditions in comparison to the rest of the industry.
In August 2012 the pilots voted for Teamster representation. Following the union vote, working conditions at Allegiant Air began to plummet. Many pilot benefits were reduced below prior negotiated levels in violation of the Railway Labor Act’s status quo requirements, resulting in a lawsuit and a court-ordered injunction against the company which directed Allegiant Air to restore benefits to previous levels, to which Allegiant Air has yet to comply.
The Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224 is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division and represents nearly 4,000 members among 11 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, Kalitta Charters II, LLC, Miami Air International, Omni Air International, Silver Airways Corporation, and Southern Air, Inc.