We remain committed to trying to reach an agreement with the company through mediated assistance of the National Mediation Board (NMB). We do not, however, see any type of the same commitment by Management. Indeed, Management has refused to reasonably address key issues and priorities in reaching an industry standard contract and equity with our Pilots. The failure by Management to seek to reach agreement including by not appropriately addressing important issues constitutes, in our view, bad faith bargaining. In the few cases where Allegiant has made even minimal movement, they have more than offset the improvements with concession demands in other areas. Our Flight Attendants deserve a contract that reflects our contribution to the success of Allegiant.
The continuation of this situation, with the negotiation process then exhausted, will result in our next step: the union’s request for a release from the NMB.
Any number of things can happen when a release is requested. For example, the federal mediator can make a report to the NMB about the status of the negotiations and whether or not he recommends a release. The NMB can also ask for additional information from the Union and the Company or call both parties into a meeting to discuss the status to determine whether they believe further progress can be made. The NMB may also offer a “proffer of binding arbitration.” The NMB could also grant the request for a release which starts a “30-day cooling-off period,” or deny it. Please remember that our Pilots filed for a release two times. While the NMB did not deny the request, they did not grant it and simply sent them back to the table for NMB supervised direct negotiations.
Prior to granting a release, the NMB may make a “proffer of binding arbitration” to the Union and the company as a last resort prior to release. If both parties accept the proffer, a neutral arbitrator would be chosen and the Union and the company would present their offers to the Arbitrator and he or she would determine a final binding agreement that would be implemented.
If both parties do not accept, the NMB will release the parties from direct negotiations for a “30-day cooling off period.”
During the “30-day cooling off period,” the Union and company can continue to try to reach an agreement and/or may begin to prepare for “self help.”
For the Union, “self help” is usually a work stoppage or strike. For the company, “self help” is usually a lock-out or the hiring of replacement workers (scabs) to take the place of striking employees. The company may also seek to change flight attendant terms and conditions of employment.
At the end of the “30-day cooling off period,” the Union and company may continue to negotiate and/or engage in self-help. If the union calls a strike, the company may very well seek to enjoin it, as they did with the Pilots.
No; but one of the best ways to strengthen a strike’s effectiveness and thereby likely shorten it is to have 100% support and compliance from Flight Attendants. We therefore ask all to support the strike — and ask you not betray your fellow flight attendants by crossing a picket line — if the union calls a strike.
Hiring replacements is generally legal. We will ask replacements not to cross the picket line.
The company may decide to cease paying for benefits and therefore, depending on the length of a strike, benefits could run out. Again, one of the best way to limit the length of a strike is to have 100% Flight Attendant support.
The Pilots’ representative, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) has stated that they are committed to honoring a picket line if the Flight Attendants are on strike. The IBT contract with the company includes the following language:
“It shall not be a violation of this Agreement, and it shall not be cause for discharge, permanent replacement or any other disciplinary action if any Pilot covered by this Agreement: refuses to enter upon the property of the Company, any Company Affiliate or any other Entity where its employees are engaged in a lawful strike or where the employees of a third-party entity doing business with the Company, Company Affiliate or other Entity are engaged in a lawful strike. It shall not be cause for discharge or disciplinary action if a Pilot refuses to cross or work behind any lawful picket line, including without limitation a lawful picket line of the IBT, or any other labor organization.”
We certainly welcome the Pilots’ support.
We have been at the negotiating table with Allegiant Air for over six years in an effort to negotiate in good faith. If the company is not willing to negotiate in good faith and agree to a fair contract including industry standard work rules, wages, and equity with other Allegiant employees on important issues like sick leave and vacation, a strike is a last resort by withholding our labor to achieve our goals.
There is no way to determine how long it would take between requesting release and the NMB making its decision — which may or may not grant the request; however if we do request a release, we will not be idle. In addition to continuing to try to reach an agreement with Management, we will mobilize our Members through actions (informational picketing, Wall Street visits, etc.) and other forms of legal union activity to send the message to Management that we deserve a fair contract.
There is no way to tell, but in general the more support we have for any legal union action (including a strike), the more pressure will be placed on the company to negotiate a fair contract.
“Informational picketing” is a means, prior to being released, for workers to make the public and media aware of their grievances with the company (such as failing to negotiate in good faith or stalling contract negotiations for 6 years). It is not a purpose of informational picketing to keep anyone from going to work at, or doing business with the company. Informational picketing was used very effectively by our Pilots in their negotiations, and it’s part of an overall strategy that can be used by our Union while waiting for release by the NMB.