NEWS BLOG
LovelandPolitics
Loveland's Independent News Source
August 31, 2012

I would like to take the opportunity to correct many of the
assumptions and inaccuracies as published in your blog on August
29 with respect to Allegiant Air, their pilots and the Teamsters
Union.  It was said that Allegiant Air’s decision to pull out of the
market was a result of a Teamster ‘contract’, which is factually
impossible and entirely inaccurate.

First and foremost, I will state that the Teamsters could not have
had anything to do with the decision as to whether the Allegiant Air
pilots fly into or out of Fort Collins-­‐Loveland.  And, while I cannot
speak on their behalf, it is difficult to suppose and illogical that the
management team at Allegiant Air would ever cease operations
into or out of Fort Collins-­‐Loveland, or any other city, because of
the recent Teamsters election.  I must presume that the
professional management at Allegiant made the decision of how to
use their aircraft and conduct their business based on sound
reasoning, operational concerns or market conditions.

You must first understand our relationship with the Allegiant Air
pilots at this particular point in time.  Last week’s vote or
representation was just the beginning of representation and a
process to negotiate an agreement between the pilots and
Allegiant Air.  

A few facts:

• Teamsters and the Allegiant Air pilots do not yet have a collective
bargaining agreement in place with Allegiant Air.  

• The pilots vote for the Teamsters as their collective bargaining
representative was confirmed just last week, August 23.  We are in
the early stages of a membership drive and getting a committee
structure established.  We have not yet entered into negotiation for
a contract.

• Under labor provisions in the Railway Labor Act, the union and
the company do not enter into contract negotiations until the
proper ‘Section 6 Notice’ expressing the desire to enter into
negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement has been given.
This has not yet occurred until the terms of a contract has been
negotiated, put to a membership vote, and ratified by the pilots of
Allegiant Air, a "status quo" employment arrangement prevails.  In
the airline industry, this process can span several months
to upwards of two years.

• APA Teamsters Local 1224 policy, nor any other Local 1224
member airline contract to my knowledge, addresses the issue of
"flying into uncontrolled airspace."  This is an item that would be
typically addressed in an airline’s operating authority and manuals
which are given and approved by the FAA.  

Your dedication to the fair and unbiased reporting of facts on your
blog, and your willingness to clarify the facts as published on your
site, is appreciated.

Thanks you in advance for your cooperation.

Sincerely,

Daniel Wells,
President
APA Teamsters
Local 1224
Teamster President Daniel Wells
Response To LovelandPolitics'
Allegiant Article
LovelandPolitics Response
September 1, 2012

There appears to be a deliberate attempt by both the Reporter-Herald
newspaper and now Teamsters to confuse what LovelandPolitics
reported by pretending we claimed there is already an existing "contract"
between the Teamsters and Allegiant Air.

In fact, the LovelandPolitics article reported,

"Last Thursday (Aug. 23) a majority of the 350 pilots flying for
Allegiant voted to join the Airline Professionals Association (APA)
Teamsters local 1224 in Wilmington, Ohio.  As a result, the
Teamster's contract to be negotiated......"

When Tom Hacker called from the RH he argued there is no contract
thus Allegiant couldn't possibly be reacting to it.  Like the Teamsters,
Hacker is pretending that unions negotiate contracts from a blank sheet
of paper and have no influence on company matters not explicitly stated
in the contract.  This is quite simply absurd.

In fact, the Teamsters do have a contract template.  When we were first
contacted by the Teamsters we asked for a copy of that template to ask
our sources what in the contract they believe the airline is reacting to -
but no template was provided by the Teamsters who claim it is
confidential.

In all fairness, the Allegiant pilots will also include their own provisions
into that template contract in the near future so we don't know yet what
they will include.

Therefore, we agreed to describe the Airline actions as "anticipatory"
and not in direct response to anything the Teamsters communicated -
which is really just a clarification since our original story never reported
any specific communication or action by the Teamsters to Allegiant on
this matter.  However, to say the Allegiant Air executives couldn't
possibly anticipate what the Teamster will demand is a specious
argument.

While the RH seems unwilling to acknowledge a template exists for
Teamster contract negotiations (ask any labor law attorney),  Mr. Wells'
online communication to the Allegiant pilots states,
"Local 1224 offers a
very effective template for union representation."

Primary Issue

The purpose of our article was to point out a recent vote of the pilots to
form a Teamsters Union franchise was a significant event within the
company a number of our sources believe was the catalyst for their
decision to announce they will leave the Loveland market later this year.

Contrast this with the RH articles claiming no "clue" exists as to why the
company made the announcement and no mention at all about the
recent vote by pilots to form a union.

Union Influence - beyond the contract

Absent the opportunity to review the proposed template contract, which
may or may not contain provisions one could say relate to Allegiant's
decision, we also contend the Teamsters and Mr. Wells specifically are
heavily involved in trying to influence airline decisions on general
company policy and operational issues where the Teamsters have
organized employees.

While we are trying to carefully not take sides in disputes that are
outside our area of knowledge, we just want to point out a few relevant
examples where the union gets involve in what routes the airline
schedules, which airports the airline can require pilots fly into and ;

1. "Frontier just added a nonstop Kansas-City-to-Cancun route,
according to the Kansas City Star. "
But if it's up to the Teamsters union,
any flights that would whisk mechanics out of Denver and transfer them
to Wisconsin as part of corporate reorganization will be grounded."

2.   "pilot was operating an ABX flight in Japan when he requested a
change to the flight plan after raising safety concerns. Following the
incident, the airline took disciplinary action and fired the pilot for refusing
to sign a coerced statement that said the pilot was not justified in
questioning the flight’s safety."

Despite the FAA certifications etc.. the pilots could protest the lack of
tower, shorts runway and other safety concerns thus refuse to fly into
Loveland.  As in the examples above, we are not taking sides on
whether the landing the pilot refused was safe or if it was appropriate for
the Teamsters to tell Frontier which routes they could add to operations.

Our only point is the management of Allegiant Air (for better or worse)
will now have a litigious organization representing their pilots and looking
over their shoulders regarding every decision they make whether it be
operations, routing and scheduling and even benefits of the CEO.

Yes, the Teamsters even challenged Republic Air regarding benefits
being paid the CEO and attended a stockholders meeting of another
airline to try and influence how the management is hired.  To say they
are limited to just pilot flight hours and the like is disingenuous.

Lastly, the Heritage Foundation has studied the impact on investments
in new routes by airlines impacted by unions looking to capture more of
the profit for its members thus limiting monies available to develop new
smaller markets.  

The RH position that a decision by pilots to form Allegiant's first
employee union cannot even be a clue of why the sudden change in
routing to Loveland is quite frankly extreme.