Union Pilots Lose Work Rules Dispute

An airline may change existing work rules, even during negotiation of a new contract with a new union, a federal appeals court has ruled in lifting an injunction that barred the changes.

Las Vegas airline Allegiant Air eliminated pay protection for employees engaged in collective bargaining, reduced the number of days a new parent could take off to spend with children and changed rules related to pilots that lose medical certificates to fly.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday lifted an injunction that had blocked the policy changes.

Pilots had relied on the Allegiant Air Pilots Advocacy Group to negotiate work rules but in 2012 they voted to have Teamsters Local 1224 act as their union.

Although the Teamsters expected Allegiant to abide by existing work rules, the airline made the changes in the midst of negotiation.  The Teamsters sued to restore the work rules.

The changes were blocked by trial judge.  But the appeals court held that the case did not raise a representation dispute.  It also found that the advocacy group, which negotiated the rules, was not the pilot’s “representative” under the Railway Labor Act because the group did not seek National Mediation Board certification nor voluntary recognition.

The opinion was by visiting Judge Stephen Murphy of Detroit and joined by Judges Richard Tallman and Johnnie Rawlinson.

Case: International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. Allegiant Air, No. 14-16465



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