Published 23 Oct, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamie Horwitz (202) 549-4921
Is Allegiant Skirting Hawaii’s Health Care Law?
Flight Attendants Call for Investigation; Airline Says Flight Attendants Won’t Make 20-Hour Threshold to Earn Health Care – But Each Trip to Mainland and back is 14 Hours
Honolulu – Transport Workers Union (TWU) of America Local 577, the union of Allegiant flight attendants, is calling for an investigation into Allegiant’s compliance with Hawaii’s landmark health care law, which requires earned health care benefits to be paid to any employees working more than 20 hours per week.
The union requested an inquiry about Allegiant’s proposed use of part-time employees in letters sent this week to Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka and U.S. Representatives Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa.
“A round-trip flight to or from the mainland gives you a schedule of nearly 14 hours not including the many unpaid hours a flight attendant accrues due to delays. Unless the company schedules flight attendants one day a week, there is no way for them to work less than 20 hours,” said Debra Petersen-Barber, an Allegiant flight attendant who is lead negotiator for TWU Local 577.
Allegiant, which flies to Honolulu, is planning to establish a pilot and flight attendant crew base in Hawaii beginning November 14th. While pilots will be full-time, Allegiant is hiring only part-time flight attendants to staff the Honolulu base.
In letters to Governor Abercrombie and members of the House and Senate representing Hawaii, Petersen Barber questioned whether the part-time scheduling “…is being implemented to avoid providing health care benefits for flight attendants based in Hawaii.”
Given the length of flights to and from the mainland, Petersen-Barber wrote:
“… we do not believe there is any way for Allegiant to limit a flight attendant to under 20 hours per week. We are especially concerned that the state of Hawaii be made aware of the many unpaid hours for which a flight attendant is forced to work, but not credited, due to operational or weather delays.
“…[W]e respectfully request that you conduct an investigation of this situation and insure that any part-time flight attendant positions created by Allegiant comply with the letter and spirit of Hawaii State law.”
A majority of flight attendants at Allegiant voted in favor of TWU representation in December 2010. Members are currently negotiating a first contract, which will cover the nearly 600 flight attendants at Allegiant.