Pilots working for Allegiant Air authorized a strike amid allegations that the Las Vegas-based budget carrier has stalled on efforts to update its scheduling system, union officials are expected to announce on Monday.
About 95.5 percent of the pilots represented by Teamsters Local 1224 supported a strike that could affect thousands of airline passengers from Las Vegas to Allegiant’s favored hubs in Florida.
However, an Allegiant spokeswoman said a strike by the pilots would be illegal under federal law and the terms of a labor pact with the Teamsters union.
“The majority of pilots supported a strike authorization because this issue affects our lives so dramatically that we feel it needs to be addressed immediately,” said Andrew Robles, an Allegiant captain who serves as chairman of the union’s executive council.
The dispute centers on how Allegiant schedules its pilots through an in-house system based on the carrier’s “must-fly” days, which require all pilots at a particular base airport to fly regardless of their seniority with the company.
As a result, Robles said, senior pilots might not receive their preferred days off. Allegiant’s system runs counter to seniority-based scheduling methods adopted by nearly all other air carriers.
The issue was supposed to be resolved within 180 days of the first labor contract that was signed by Allegiant and the Teamsters union in August 2016.
Allegiant spokeswoman Hilarie Grey said the carrier is working with a vendor on developing, testing and launching a new scheduling program by the end of this year.
“We remain committed to, and are actively working towards the completion of implementing the scheduling system,” Grey said. “Under the Railway Labor Act, as well as terms of the current collective bargaining agreement, this issue would not constitute grounds for a legal work stoppage.”