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United Sending Layoff Notices ‘To Nearly Half’ Of Airline’s U.S. Employees

Published Monday, July 13, 2020
United Sending Layoff Notices ‘To Nearly Half’ Of Airline’s U.S. Employees

(CHICAGO, ILLINOIS) - United Airlines will send layoff warnings to 36,000 Employees - nearly half its U.S. Staff - in the clearest signal yet of how deeply the Coronavirus outbreak is hurting the Airline Industry.  And the outlook for a recovery in air travel has dimmed in just the past two weeks, as infection rates rise in much of the U.S. and some states imposed new quarantine requirements.

United Officials still hope to limit the number of October layoffs by offering early retirement, and that the 36,000 number is a worst case scenario.

The notices being sent to Employees this month are meant to comply with a 60-day warning ahead of mass job cuts.

The furloughs would include 15,000 Flight Attendants, 11,000 Customer Service and Gate Agents, 5,500 Maintenance Workers and 2,250 Pilots.

“The United Airlines projected furlough numbers ‘are a gut punch, but they are also the most honest assessment we’ve seen on the state of the industry,’” said Sara Nelson, who serves as the President of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA). “This crisis ‘dwarfs all others in aviation history and there’s no end in sight.’”

If United carries through on the notices, furloughs would take effect on or shortly after October 1st.

United can’t lay off Workers before then as a condition of the $5 billion in Federal Payroll Aid it began receiving this Spring.

The Flight Attendants Union and other Airline Labor Groups are lobbying Congress to approve another $25 billion in payroll aid to protect jobs through next March, but a Senior United Executive expressed doubt that Congress would approve the spending in an election year.

“We do not feel like we can count on additional government support to survive,” said the official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.

United Executives said the notices covered 45% of the Airline’s U.S. Staff.

Another 1,300 Management and Support Staff will be laid off October 1st, the company said.

That includes International Employees.

United has a workforce of about 95,000.

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