Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air could face its third union battle in less than two years as its pilots have filed for an election to be represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The National Mediation Board informed the company on Monday that pilots had submitted cards requesting a vote. The board must now certify that enough valid cards have been turned in and then set a date.
Allegiant Air division has 363 nonunion pilots, though the company in its annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission describes an “in-house association which we meet with on a regular basis.”
A Teamsters spokesman declined to comment on what issues led enough pilots to sign cards setting an election in motion.
“The overwhelmingly positive response we have received in meetings and the outstanding response to the card drive is a testament to the dedication of Allegiant Air pilots,” said David Bourne, the director of the Teamsters’ airline division.
Allegiant has noted in documents that the current agreement with pilots can be reopened in November 2013 and includes a base pay scale that varies according to the company’s operating margin production.
“We strongly believe that Allegiant’s success is attributable in large part to our pilots and the direct, open relationship we have with them,” said Maurice J. Gallagher Jr., Allegiant’s chairman and CEO, in a prepared statement.
In the past, however, he has depicted unions in harsh tones. In answer to an analyst’s question last year, Gallagher said, “In this industry and others that are heavily unionized, you ultimately end up with bankruptcy as the primary driver.”
Later, he added, “Unionization is one of those things that clogs the arteries and makes you less quick and not as nimble as you need to be on top of your game.
Nevertheless, flight attendants voted in 2010 to join the Transport Workers Union of America. But the lengthy process of putting a contract in place is still under way. At the time, flight attendants complained that management did not listen to them, especially when it came to putting together work schedules.
A few weeks later, flight dispatchers rejected a union on a tie vote.
Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at email@example.com or 702-387-5290.