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Push for pilot strike at Allegiant

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POSTED October 15, 2015 8:18 p.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Teamsters union is making a new push to end contract negotiations with Allegiant Air and move closer to a strike by pilots.

That doesn’t mean a strike is imminent, however.

The union said Thursday it asked the National Mediation Board to release it from talks involving a federal mediator. If granted, that could start a 30-day countdown to a strike, but mediators haven’t acted on a similar Teamsters request lodged in January.

Airline unions can’t legally strike unless mediators agree that further negotiations are pointless, and strikes at U.S. carriers are rare. Allegiant pilots threatened to strike earlier this year but were blocked by a court order.

Teamsters Local 1224 said Allegiant’s pilots are overworked and underpaid.

The Las Vegas-based airline, part of Allegiant Travel Co., said there has been progress in contract talks. In a letter to employees, chief operating officer Steve Harfst said the company wants to give pilots higher wages, better retirement plans and a union-sponsored health plan.

Negotiations are scheduled to resume Oct. 26.

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