Fed up with what they call “blatant disregard” to updating their scheduling system, pilots working for Allegiant Air took to the roads to get their message out.
Teamsters Local 1224, which represents Allegiant Air pilots, commissioned eight billboards across the Las Vegas Valley reading: “Allegiant Air, Stop the Unfair Labor Practices. Stop Testing Our Patience.” The billboards went up Dec. 1 and are scheduled to be in place at least through the holidays.
The billboards stem from an ongoing issue regarding how Allegiant schedules its pilots — through a system not based on seniority. That has led to senior pilots not receiving days they requested off, as the Allegiant system, unlike most air carriers, requires that all pilots be at a particular base airport regardless of seniority, the union said.
In August 2016 the union brought the first labor contract to Allegiant, which included changing the scheduling system.
The proposal called for an agreement on the software requirements for a preferential bidding system (PBS), which schedules pilots for flying by considering their preferences such as days of week and times of day they like to fly and ranking those preferences by seniority.
The system was to be in place and running within 18 months of the agreement being reached.
“The systems improve the schedules and lives of pilots,” said Tom Pozdro, an Allegiant captain who serves as a member of the union’s executive council. “Interestingly enough, they also improve the scheduling for the company and their productivity. That’s how great these PBS systems are.”
More than two years since the collective bargaining agreement, Pozdro said Allegiant has not implemented a new system.
“They’re doing what they can to kick the can down the road, and not abide by the contract and the timeline,” he said. “That’s where the frustration lies and that’s why the billboards.”
Allegiant pilots scheduled for flying duty work an average of 58 hours per month, with an average of 14 days off per month, Allegiant said. Additionally, Allegiant flies an “out-and-back” system where pilots return to their home base after each day of flying and rarely have an overnight away from home, the carrier said.
Despite the pilots’ claims, Allegiant said they are working feverishly toward updating the system.
“It’s just a complicated system that takes time to develop and test,” said Allegiant spokeswoman Hilarie Grey.
The Teamsters selected PBS vendor, Crewing Solutions, has been working toward making changes to its program required for implementation at Allegiant. When the new system is launched is fully dependent upon Crewing Solutions, Grey said.
“The time frame for development and testing of the preferential bidding system is currently in the hands of the vendor, Crewing Solutions,” Grey said in an email. “Software modifications to ensure the system is compliant with the terms of our collective bargaining agreement have taken longer than anticipated. This has been communicated to the pilot group, and both Allegiant and the union meet weekly with the vendor to update progress as the development work continues.”