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Friday, Oct 19, 2018
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Allegiant Air mechanics ask to be represented by Teamsters

Allegiant Air mechanics filed with the federal government Wednesday to be represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. If the petition is passed, the union would negotiate on behalf of the mechanics and related technicians on issues such as contracts and safety.

"The mechanics at Allegiant Air recognize the power that Teamster representation brings to their co-workers as well as mechanics at companies like United Airlines and UPS Air Cargo," said Capt. David Bourne, director of the Teamsters’ airline division, in a release. "They want in on the action."

The Teamsters currently represent pilots and flight dispatchers for Allegiant, which is by far the dominant carrier at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

Allegiant’s mechanics have long raised concerns over the safety practices of the airline following numerous mechanical issues with flights in 2015. That year, Allegiant jets were forced to make unexpected landings at least 77 times for serious mechanical failures, a Times investigation found. That meant the budget carrier’s planes were four times as likely to fail during flight as those operated by other major U.S. airlines.

Following a review, the FAA found problems with Allegiant’s maintenance paperwork, including a failure to report a mid-flight engine shutdown within a required time frame. But the agency said nothing it discovered was severe enough to require a fine or other serious enforcement action.

Related coverage: Thousands of people flew Allegiant last year thinking their planes wouldn’t fail in the air. They were wrong.>

The National Mediation Board, the governmental agency that oversees disputes between workers and management in the airline and rail industries, is expected to set a date within the next two months for the Allegiant mechanics and technicians to vote on Teamster representation.

To move ahead, the petition requires at least 50 percent interest. The Teamsters said more half of the Allegiant mechanics were in support but did not release specifics. Allegiant has about 350 mechanics and technicians.

Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.

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