Did Union Vote Force Allegiant Air Out Of Loveland?

Today the Loveland Reporter-Herald ran a front page story titled “City Officials Seeking Clues” that details how “mystified” the city and airport authorities are over the recent announcement by Allegiant Air to leave the Loveland market and cancel all flights beginning in mid-October.

A vote last friday (Aug. 24) by the airline’s 350 pilots to create a Teamster Union franchise is the answer according to sources within the industry. The new contract Allegiant Air executives may be forced to sign could contain provisions prohibiting the airline from flying its MD-80’s or Boeing 757 aircraft into smaller airports that lack an FAA staffed tower, a small runway and other safety infrustructure. (see our story).

Especially troubling is Loveland Public Works Director Keith Reester’s and Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez’s lack of knowledge surrounding the important decision by the only airline serving Loveland. Reester, once a part-time employee of the city enjoying a full-time salary arranged by former City Manager Don Williams, was put in-charge of airport matters despite his complete lack of relevant experience. Add to that his recent taxpayer trip to Las Vegas only two weeks ago that failed to garner any information or clue about the pull-out.

Loveland now stands to lose over $1 million in FAA credits collected from passenger ticket taxes to extend the runway at the Ft. Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport. Regardless of how you feel about unions the incompetency in City Hall is unpardonable.

See response to this blog and our article by Teamster Union President Dan Wells (added Sept. 1, 2012)

19 Responses to “Did Union Vote Force Allegiant Air Out Of Loveland?”

  1. Just Wondering says:

    Great Article — and a scoop to boot!
    Could you please give us some background information on which of our local officials, candidates and city officials are union supporters?
    Supporting unions in this case bit the Northern Colorado area in the back side.
    Getting airlines to come to our airport could take a couple of years, a ton of negotiations and concessions of tax dollars.
    Your right — someone blew it!
    Just Wondering

  2. Nick says:

    Unions what a joke. And why wasnt this printed in our wonderful Reporter Herald.

  3. Facts are missing here says:

    In reading this article it’s not that a number of facts claimed by Allegiant’s management are not only missing; they don’t exist.

    In fact, the Allegiant pilots voted for representation by the Teamsters Airline Division. In fact, at some point in the future they have said that they look forward to sitting down to negotiate a first contract. And in fact, their management made it abundantly clear that they had no intention of doing anything for years.

    Those are facts. Now for the blatant misstatements.

    Allegiant has not been forced to sign an agreement with their pilots banning any flight operations into a non tower controlled airport. Simply because there has yet to be a single negotiating meeting nor is one scheduled yet. And given the company’s own statements to their pilots about how long they intended to drag the process out; for years, it is clear that they could have continued operations into Loveland without any issues for that period and longer, assuming that no such restriction came into being.

    Additionally, if there is such an agreement at another carrier, that does not apply to Allegiant. I say this as an airline pilot familiar with many contracts, including Teamster Airline Division agreements. In fact, many carriers do conduct such operations and do os safely every day.

    It would be inappropriate to chastise the people at City Hall over this. Look deeper and you will find that this “decision” is driven by Allegiant management for reasons they are not being honest to the community about.

  4. Administrator says:

    Facts Are Missing Here -

    Instead of asking us to dig deeper into Allegient’s “reasons they are not being honest to the community about” why don’t you share with us what you know. If our reason is not correct, please share with us your theory.

    We appreciate your clarification (as also published by the Loveland Reporter-Herald story) that no contract yet exists between the newly formed pilot’s union and Allegiant. Of course, our story doesn’t state there is an agreement in place only that one needs to be negotiated.

    However, industry sources are quite clear in their opinion that Allegiant’s decision to leave Loveland later this year is an anticipatory move by management to eliminate the issue between airline management and the Teamsters by the time the negotiations begin.

    The qoute, “I can categorically deny that the Teamsters have anything, whatsoever, to do with whether those pilots fly into or out of Fort Collins-Loveland. At this time we do not have a collective bargaining agreement with the company. Period. End of story.” published tonight in the Reporter-Herald by a union representative is interesting.

    Notice he is simply stating the fact that since no agreement has yet been negotiated, the Teamsters have nothing to do with whether or not pilots fly into Loveland AT THIS TIME. Because the negotiations, communications and agremeent are confidential, a requirement of the union, it will be impossible to know whether the topic is even being discussed or negotiated.

  5. Capt. Rick says:

    Not quite fella. The union vote is why Allegiant is pulling out of Loveland but the specifics you got a little confused. Today pilots are under pressure to perform with heavy loads and shorter schedules. Airlines push pilots to keep schedules and make passanger and revenue targets.Allegiant pilots DON’T want to leave FNL fully loaded on a hot day or with haze using just line of sight and no tower. Once the union is in place they can simply say no. This Wells guy you quoted is suing ABX right now because a pilot said no and was fired about landing in a Jap airport. So the union does care about the airport but they give that decision to the pilot. No union airline will fly out of Loveland until they lengthen that runway and get a tower in here.

  6. Jack Benjamin says:

    I’m wondering how “Facts are Missing”
    heard about LP.com’s article. Are these
    two pilots (Facts and Capt Rick) locals?
    I find it difficult to believe they are
    regular readers that just happened to
    have such specific info on this situation.
    I also find it interesting the article about
    this in the RH is more about LP.com
    than about this story. There is so much
    haze being thrown up right now the
    politicians have to involved.

  7. Just Wondering says:

    Isn’t it wonderful that the RH spelled Mr. Weston’s name correctly and that the link to this blog site works just fine :)
    You can’t buy this type of advertising!
    Union vote on Friday — airport pullout on Tuesday.
    I don’t beleive in this much cooincidence.
    Thanks for the updates and clarifications.

  8. Nick says:

    Oh this will be fun, Unions , Politicians , Let the Rats run free

  9. Kathleen says:

    Reading this website for a long time. So the score today for sloppy journalism is LovelandPolitics 1 and RH 35,000.

    Look at:
    Grand Station
    Bond Issue
    25/34 Overpass
    Klen Lawsuit
    City Manager Hire
    Secret Meeting with McWhimney
    On and on

  10. Administrator says:

    Thanks for your comments. We spoke with two pilots, an Allegiant contract employee and others who believed the company made the hasty decision to leave Loveland as a result of the Union vote.

    Subsequent inquiries have yielded the same opinions from the same sources. We even received an email from Boca Raton, Florida regarding an effort by the local pilot’s association (not Teamsters) demanding their local airport install a tower.

    Given the messy history between the Teamsters and Republic Air (parent of Frontier) has made local pilots reluctant to go on the record in any way critical of the very powerful Teamsters union.

    We were contacted by a national Teamster official yesterday who told us our story title was “offensive” which we agreed to change given his input. What that official was unwilling to do was go on the record or commit to any narrative that said the Union would not have an opinion/position on the alleged airport safety issues raised in our article in the future. His greatest concern was that we clarify the fact only Allegiant made the decision without any direct influence by the union (their position).

    Therefore, our story remains that people in the industry saw the decision to leave Loveland closely connected to the Union vote. The failure of city staff and the RH to report this information or even apparently be aware of the vote is troubling as it will have a significant impact on many future decisions of the Allegiant management.

    We recognize the Loveland RH is now celebrating what they see as an opening to attack the credibility of this website that has been reporting their errors and scooping them on important local stories now for nearly a decade. Our reporting on the Denver Post purchase of the RH and subsequent lay-offs (news they didn’t want people to know) was just one example where this little volunteer news website prevented the near news monopoly of MediaNews Group Inc. that owns most of the newspapers in the front range from deciding what news peope could read.

    Absent LovelandPolitics, most Loveland residents would likely have been unaware of the Allegiant pilots’ recent vote to join the Teamsters union and the close connection some are drawing between that vote and the airline’s decision to pull out of Loveland.

  11. L says:

    The union presence in northern Colorado is a given. The efforts by unions to strongarm businesses into accepting a union presence is a dirty little secret the Reporter-Herald refuses to report. Now that they are part of the Democratic Party rank and file, don’t expect them to change this position.

  12. Doug says:

    The rh are a bunch of jerks and have zero credibility. Political correctness prevents them from acknowledging unions impact business decisions. That “newspaper” is so politically correct they lost their reader’s trust years ago.

  13. Doug says:

    By the way they REALLy hate you. You better not even get a parking ticket in this community or it will be front page news.

  14. Carol says:

    Here is a news story about that New York airport the RH says is the same as Loveland’s. Really its not but cool story about the flying car you can buy.


    Big airlines with pilot unions can’t afford to service the little destinations like Ft. collins/loveland so they start-up regional carriers (really same company just different corporate entity) to do that. I don’t know if Allegiant is worried the Teamsters will stop them from using this airport if its just a business decision since our market can’t afford the higher ticket prices that come with having union labor. Really low price tickets was the reason they got so much business.

  15. Administrator says:

    Thanks for the comments. We received an email yesterday regarding the fight in Modesto, CA over closing their FAA staffed control tower.

    According to one news article, the closing of the tower would lock them out of the national market for commercial carriers.

    Also, we found that some charter airline pilots flying 737’s decided not to land in Modesto (runway length) thus diverting to Stockton and making passengers angry. (Sun Country)

    Another email we received suggested Allegiant will likely return to Loveland using a regional carrier start-up or existing with code share flight where there is no pilot’s union. The email claims that is why the big national carriers also rely on smaller non-union companies for routes to smaller airports.

  16. Carol says:

    Look, the Reporter Herald is not going to report about a union vote impacting business decisions. I have a brother who flies for United Airlines. He said of course he would never fly a heavy commercial aircraft into Loveland on only sight horizine instead of instruments with a controller. The lesser paid non-union guys will because they don’t have any choice.

    My brother says why not expand the runway and build a tower so Allegiant’s union pilots will still fly to Ft. Collins-Loveland airport. Simple but expensive solution.

    And don’t worry about the Reporter Herald. They don’t like this website and want to make you look bad at all cost but it doesn’t matter what they say because most people just consider the source. Hardly a credible newspaper.

  17. Carol says:

    Anyone see the newspaper this morning on Allegiant. Really? The airline just wanted to use its aircraft on a more profitable route? Why doesn’t Allegiant just say that?

    Did anyone suffer to the end of the pointless article? It is not clear who Is being quoted about why Colorado Springs has commercial service and Ft. Collins and Loveland do not. According to their valuable source if a community is interested they can get it? Really? The only reason some community airports have commercial service and others don’t is how interested the community is in the topic?

    Silly me I thought runway length, air traffic control towers, emergency rescue service and even having a terminal big enough to fit the passngers had something to do with it. Oh and what about where pilots are willing to fly accordng to minimum safety standards and the new Teamsters union’s demands. Oh yeah LP.com you better not mention anything not PC enough for the RH!

    And why can’t the newspaper just talk to Allegiant employees offline to get the real story?

  18. Gigi says:

    There is no mystery here. The Teamsters don’t want Allegiant flying into an airport where the ground workers are not Teamsters. Nobody told them not to yet but they took Loveland off the table anyway to avoid the hassle. We fly into lots of airports where the concession contractors are non-union but those airports are also safe so not controversial with any of our pilots. Allegiant is right now seeking a small regional carrier without union pilots to code share flights to Loveland using a turbo prop. You must have the dumbest people in America running your airport if they thought Allegiant could continue flying into Loveland after the pilots unionized.

  19. Cath says:

    Hi Friend, I am commenting from Bendigo, Australia. Thanks so much for the thoughtful post. It helped me a lot with my TAFE internet research assignment.

    Unions here in Australia also try and control which airports the pilots fly into depending on local unions. Did the Denver Post or Loveland papers aplologize for their mistakes?

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