Allegiant Air flight attendants are calling for the renaming of Gallagher Hall over a contract dispute with its namesake, but UC Davis is having none of it.
Maurice Gallagher, the majority owner, president and CEO of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co., the parent company of Allegiant Air, and his wife, Marcia, funded much of the cost of the building and an endowment with a $10 million donation, the largest UCD had received from an alumnus.
Opened in 2009, Gallagher Hall is home to the Graduate School of Management.
“The university is not considering changing the name of the Graduate School of Management building,” said Karen Nikos, a UCD spokesperson, in an email message on Monday. “We are proud of the name Maurice Gallagher Jr. Hall. Maurice Gallagher is a distinguished alumnus and has been a generous supporter of the school.”
A majority of Allegiant’s flight attendants voted to join the Transport Workers Union of America in December 2010. They have yet to reach a contract agreement with the company.
“We should name buildings after people who deliver value to customers and the communities they serve, while also representing the best values of the University of California,” said Thom McDaniel, vice president of TWU in a news release.
The union’s effort has received support from Duane Wright, UCD campus chair of United Auto Workers Local 2865, the union representing teaching assistants, readers, tutors and other academic workers. They are in their own contract dispute, with UC.
“We need to start naming buildings after people that are community- and worker-friendly,” Wright said in the news release.
A simple website, http://www.renamegallagherhall.org, suggests that the building be renamed for civil rights leader César Chávez; Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher, who is praised for his fair-labor practices; or “anyone but Gallagher.” The union also placed an ad in the California Aggie student newspaper last week and is planning a protest on campus, possibly next week.
“The TWU has the freedom to spend its members’ dues on any efforts that it believes are an effective use of their time and resources,” said Jessica Wheeler, an airlines spokesperson. “Allegiant would prefer to spend our energy and resources attacking the contract issues at hand and not each other.”
Gallagher has sometimes had sharper comments for unions. He has been quoted as saying, in 2011, “Unionization is one of those things that clogs the arteries and makes you less quick and not as nimble as you need to be on top of your game,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
A 1971 UCD graduate, Gallagher is also co-chair with Margrit Mondavi of the Campaign for UC Davis, has been the management school’s commencement speaker and has served on the school’s advisory board.
The building, which has received LEED platinum recognition for its green features, has of late been shrouded in plastic. It’s undergoing repairs on exterior tiles that have been loose enough to fall off on at least two occasions.
— Reach Cory Golden at [email protected] or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden