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American and United Warn Re-Hired Employees of More Furloughs

American Airlines Flight Attendants

After re-hiring a number of furloughed employees right before the Christmas holiday, American Airlines and United Airlines are warning workers they could soon end up back in the unemployment line. Once the second round of Payroll Support Program funds run out, both airlines say they will be overstaffed.

In the days before Christmas, both American Airlines and United Airlines announced a season miracle: furloughed employees would once again get paychecks. However, the joy may be short lived, as both carriers are now warning unions that they could be facing another round of furloughs once the second airline support funds are spent.

United Could Lay Off 14,000, while American is Beginning Talks with Unions

For American, airline chief executive Doug Parker was direct about the state of his carrier in their 2020 results call. Noting that demand was still low, the leader told those on the call that employment may need to be adjusted after they expend their additional Payroll Support Program funds. To those ends, The Dallas Morning News reports leaders for the Fort Worth-based airline have started discussions about overstaffing beyond April 1, 2021.

While American has not sent out the legally-required WARN notices to employees yet, the newspaper says members of TWU Local 513 have been offered voluntary leave and early retirement packages. In the last call for employees to step away, 23,000 airline workers accepted financial incentives to exit the company.

At United, the situation is much grimmer. CNBC reports the Chicago-based carrier already sent out 14,000 WARN notices to workers, informing them of layoffs looming ahead.

“Despite ongoing efforts to distribute vaccines, customer demand has not changed much since we recalled those employees,” the airline told employees in a memo, seen by CNBC. “When the recalls began, United said most recalled employees would return to their previous status as a result of the fall furloughs around April 1.”

The two airlines are not the only ones threatening another round of layoffs. According to CNBC, Hawaiian Airlines also sent furlough notices to staff, and could eliminate 900 jobs. Meanwhile, the Morning News reports Southwest Airlines is also offering buyouts to their employees.

Unions Ask Government for Additional $15 Billion in Airline Support

Not one to go down without a fight, the airline unions are once again going to Capitol Hill to ask for additional support to keep their jobs active. Leaders of six unions sent a joint letter to Congressional leadership asking for additional support, with the hopes of gaining another $15 billion to secure jobs through Sept. 30, 2021.

PaulMSN February 4, 2021

A lot of really selfish and unrealistic people.

DMIND00 February 4, 2021

No one was there for me years ago when I had to live on 5,000 a year and on credit cards. There is not the demand for airline travel. There should not be another artificial pay to these employees. I am sorry but we all go through tough times at some point in our lives. I feel sorry for the employees but money does not grow on trees or fall from heaven The airlines money situation continues to vanish. They need to be lean during these times. It is going to be a long time before air travel improves. Quite frankly I do not believe it will get to 2019 levels again. Our world has changed dramatically. The technology has allowed people to do Microsoft Team meetings, zoom and other platforms and found it extremely successful. For that said companies and agencies will continue to use these great platforms and there will be less need for employees to travel. I have already appreciated it myself. So to me it is better to cut losses now and tighten your belts for the new smaller airline business. The 15 Billion will ultimately not be enough and again the union would as for more. Some of these employees need to start looking for other jobs. One thing I have learned is nothing is guaranteed and one must be able to accept and make change.

CrimsonKnight1776 February 3, 2021

Either they fight for less restrictive travel or fail, and I will not feel bad if they fail. Another airline can take their spot, and the workers can join the unemployed with the Keystone Pipelines. Elections have consequences.

bozacksmith February 3, 2021

Completely ridiculous, no other vertical is getting bail outs and having people not needed to work getting paid all this time. I do not fall feel sorry for the airlines either, as one of those top 1% of flyers they messed up when they initially (and still do) only cater to those that are scared of flying instead of marketing to their business folks and die hards, especially since they self admit those are the ones that keep them flying.. Instead of adjusting profitable routes and markets they used their profits for stock buyback, bonuses and gauging people for extra fees everywhere and now we as taxpayers are supposed to keep them afloat?

MileageMule February 3, 2021

The taxpayers can only subsidize their nonsense for so long. Let them fold already. Other airlines will replace them. (they always do)