Allegiant Pilots File for Release from Mediation
Allegiant Air pilots are asking the National Mediation Board (NMB) to be released from mediated negotiations with the airline in the wake of its nearly three-year dispute with the company over its contract.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division Director David Bourne personally delivered the request to the NMB. He also advised the NMB that Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa has pledged his and the International Union’s full support of the pilots’ request.
In response, the NMB may offer the pilots and the airline the opportunity to have remaining contract issues decided by a neutral third-party arbitrator.
“Since we began negotiations almost three years ago, our goal has remained to obtain a contract that provides for the future success and security of our pilots and Allegiant Air,” Allegiant Air First Officer and union leader Cameron Graff said in a statement. “Despite Allegiant being the most profitable airline in the world, management believes that the pilots should agree to work for wages and benefits at levels below our peers at other airlines. There’s no financial reason for the company to shortchange the men and women responsible for the safe transportation of their customers every day. And with a sub-par contract, Allegiant would create a revolving door for pilots who are able to get better jobs elsewhere. If management wants to keep seasoned pilots in the cockpit, they need to get serious and negotiate a fair contract that recognizes the contributions of the pilots flying for the world’s most profitable airline.”
Allegiant did not respond.
If either the union or the airline refuse to arbitrate the dispute, a 30-day "cooling off" period would be triggered and the pilots could then be free to strike any time after the period ends.
Earlier this year, pilots voted by an overwhelming 98 percent to authorize a strike if it became necessary.
“Rather than work with pilots to strengthen the airline, Allegiant is wasting money and resources paying outside consultants to maintain a flawed operation that marginalizes employees (and) customers, and ignores safety concerns,” Hoffa said. “For an airline facing countless avoidable mechanical failures, Allegiant would be better suited to invest that money in its workforce to ensure the retention of its pilots and the safety of all its workers and customers.”
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