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Thu., Feb. 7, 2013, 1:15 p.m.

Flight attendants for Spokane-Hawaii flight gain full-time status, health benefits

Today's Spokesman Review has a story about the first Allegiant Air direct flight to Hawaii from Spokane.

We call attention to related news about this flight; namely, that these inaugural flights will be staffed with full-time flight attendants. Up to now Allegiant has told its workers it would use part-time attendants on those flights.

Allegiant's position, based on media coverage in Hawaii, came down to an apparent desire to not pay health beneifts, according to a  story in the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Earlier this week Transport Workers Union Local 577, representing more than 600 flight attendants at Allegiant, announced the change to full-time status for those attendants who would be based in Honolulu. Allegiant's action only affected that uncertain number based in Hawaii. Its flight attendants at its nine U.S. bases all are classified full-time and receive benefits.

The union's release said: "The airline, which begins service to Honolulu this week from airports in Boise, Phoenix/Mesa and Spokane had originally planned to service these and other Hawaii routes with part-time flight attendants based in Honolulu.

"In October, (union officials) wrote to Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and U.S. senators and members of Congress from Hawaii. The letter questioned whether Allegiant’s planned use of so-called part-timers – for a route on which each flight lasted at least 14 hours – was a maneuver to avoid providing health care benefits for flight attendants based in Hawaii.' "

That letter and some other efforts led to Allegiant making the change. The Star Advertiser summary of the change by Allegiant can be found here.

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.