United Airlines sending 'gut punch' furlough warnings to 36,000 workers

By Tracy Rucinski CHICAGO (Reuters) - United Airlines said on Wednesday it was preparing to send notices of potential furloughs to 36,000 U.S.-based frontline employees, or about 45% of staff, as travel demand hit by the coronavirus pandemic struggles to recover. United shares lost 3.3% in midday trading

Reuters July 09, 2020 00:06:35 IST
United Airlines sending 'gut punch' furlough warnings to 36,000 workers

United Airlines sending gut punch furlough warnings to 36000 workers

By Tracy Rucinski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - United Airlines said on Wednesday it was preparing to send notices of potential furloughs to 36,000 U.S.-based frontline employees, or about 45% of staff, as travel demand hit by the coronavirus pandemic struggles to recover.

United shares lost 3.3% in midday trading.

Not everyone who receives a notification will be furloughed, United said, with the final number depending on how demand evolves and how many employees accept early exit packages and temporary leaves.

The furloughs would begin on Oct. 1, when a government-imposed ban on forced job cuts by airlines that accepted billions of dollars in federal payroll aid expires.

"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," Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) President Sara Nelson said in a statement.

The Chicago-based airline continues to burn through about $40 million of cash every day, with a number of efforts to cut costs and raise liquidity failing to compensate for the drastic drop-off in travel demand as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the United States.

The furlough warnings vary by work group. Flight attendants are among the hardest hit, with about 15,000 of roughly 25,000 set to receive notifications.

United is working with the different unions on options to mitigate the final furlough number.

Flight attendants, for example, have been offered two voluntary furlough options, one lasting eight months through June 1, 2021, and another lasting 13 months through Nov, 1 2021, during which they would maintain benefits, according to a memo reviewed by Reuters.

"But the fact remains that these projected furlough numbers are larger than the total size of most mainline airlines a decade ago," AFA's Nelson said, referring to the number of employees major airlines had before mergers.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Nick Zieminski)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Greek police clash with protesters in rally against mandatory vaccinations
World

Greek police clash with protesters in rally against mandatory vaccinations

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police used teargas and water cannon to disperse people who had gathered in central Athens on Saturday to protest against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. More than 4,000 people rallied outside the Greek parliament for a third time this month to oppose mandatory inoculations for some workers, such as healthcare and nursing staff.

Two Turkish soldiers killed in attack in northern Syria
World

Two Turkish soldiers killed in attack in northern Syria

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Two Turkish soldiers were killed and two were wounded in an attack on their armoured vehicle in northern Syria, and Turkish forces immediately launched retaliatory fire, Turkey's defence ministry said on Saturday. "Our punitive fire against terrorist positions is continuing," the statement on Twitter on said. It did not specify where the attack occurred, but media reports said it was in the al-Bab area.

Brazilians take to streets again to demand Bolsonaro's impeachment
World

Brazilians take to streets again to demand Bolsonaro's impeachment

By Marcelo Rochabrun SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Protesters took to the streets in several Brazilian cities on Saturday to demand the impeachment of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whose popularity has fallen in recent weeks amid corruption scandals against the backdrop of the pandemic. This week, news broke that Brazil's defense ministry told congressional leadership that next year's elections would not take place without amending the country's electronic voting system to include a paper trail of each vote. Bolsonaro has suggested several times without evidence that the current system is prone to fraud, allegations that Brazil's government has denied