PHOENIX - An ongoing labor dispute between 600 flight attendants and Allegiant Airlines has the carrier preparing other employees to step up.
According to a company memo and the union representing the flight attendants, the Las Vegas based carrier is training employees throughout the company to be flight attendants.
Those being trained include employees at the airline's headquarters.
"I need to tell you this means we will be training individuals (within G4 and others) to be flight attendants in the event of a strike," said Allegiant's Mary Grace Clements in the memo obtained by ABC15 that was sent to employees.
The move comes as the Transport Workers Union negotiates a contract with the company.
Allegiant's flight attendants, according to union spokesperson Debra Petersen-Barber, have no plans to strike.
"Absolutely not, no we have not had a vote to strike or plan to strike," said Petersen-Barber during a phone interview with ABC15.
Petersen-Barber said Allegiant flight attendants joined the union nearly two years ago and have been working to negotiate a contract for about a year and half.
"I was shocked when I heard the company was training others to be flight attendants," said Petersen-Barber. "What I would ask myself as the flying public is, should I be concerned about the fact that yesterday or two weeks ago they were a call center person or a ramper."
Petersen-Barber also said flight attendants typically receive about five weeks of training before taking to the air and that Allegiant is conducting the training in two weeks.
"It's more than just serving a drink and picking up trash, we have a lot of responsibilities that have to do with safety and first aid and fighting fires, we're trained to take care of the worst case scenario when you're 35,000 feet in the air," said Petersen-Barber Wednesday evening.
ABC15 has been told the training conducted by Allegiant is approved by the FAA.
ABC15 emailed and called Allegiant Wednesday afternoon. A person who answered the phone at corporate headquarters transferred the call to a voicemail. The company has not yet responded.
ABC15 is working on other updates to this story. Stay with ABC15 and ABC15.com for further developments.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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