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Pilots union asks judge to deny Allegiant’s request to block strike

The union representing Allegiant’s pilots asked a federal judge to toss out the Las Vegas-based airline’s request to block a strike, union representatives said Tuesday.

The Airline Professionals Association Local 1224 and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division filed a motion to dismiss Allegiant’s complaint, arguing that the federal court lacks jurisdiction over the dispute.

The move comes after roughly 95.5 percent of the pilots represented by Teamsters Local 1224 voted in support of a strike amid allegations that Allegiant had stalled efforts to update its scheduling system.

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.

The issue was supposed to be resolved within 180 days of the first labor pact signed by Allegiant and the Teamsters in August 2016, union officials said.

“Our pilots do not want to strike but — as shown by our overwhelming strike authorization vote last month — we are willing to do whatever is necessary to enforce our contractual agreements,” said Andrew Robles, an Allegiant captain who serves as chairman of the Teamsters executive council.

Shortly after the pilots’ strike authorization vote, Allegiant filed a complaint in U.S. District Court requesting a declaratory judgment that a walkout would be illegal under the Railway Labor Act and the terms of an employee contract reached two years ago with the Teamsters.

Both the federal law and the union contract require both sides to exert every effort to settle “minor disputes” before moving toward a strike, Allegiant spokeswoman Hilarie Grey said.

“We stand by our filing, and the fact that the union simply does not have a legal right to strike under these circumstances,” Grey said.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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