Airlines

American Asks HQ Employees to Volunteer to Help at DFW

American Asks HQ Employees to Volunteer to Help at DFW
Joe Cortez

American Airlines is drawing from an unlikely workforce to get airport backup, as flyers continue to book airfare at an increased pace. The Fort Worth-based carrier is asking their administrative employees to volunteer for shifts at their home airport to help in certain areas.

American Airlines is feeling overwhelmed at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and is turning to employees in their headquarters for help. The Dallas Morning News reports the carrier is asking their non-unionized workers to take unpaid shifts as the demand for air travel continues to grow.

American Asks Behind-The-Scenes Workers to Volunteer for Six-Hour Shifts

With gate agents and customer service representatives overwhelmed by the increased travel demand, American is asking staff at their nearby headquarters to consider taking an unpaid, six-hour volunteer shift to help with airport operations. Although most workers are salaried, even those working hourly are being asked to give up their off hours.

Instead of helping with checking customers in, pre-flight work and boarding, the volunteer force would be tasked with more mundane work. Volunteer airport workers would be helping flyers get through entry points, navigating TSA lines and returning wheelchairs to gates.

“As we look forward to welcoming back more of our customers this summer, we know they’re counting on us to deliver a reliable operation and help them feel comfortable as they return after many months away from traveling,” Sarah Jantz, spokesperson for American, said in a statement to the Dallas Morning News. “That’s something our front-line teams are experts on as they regularly go above and beyond to take care of our customers. To ensure they have the support they need this summer and beyond, our corporate support teams will provide additional support at DFW.”

American says they will be requesting the volunteer help between June and August 2021. The volunteer shifts for the non-union workforce is not mandatory.

Airlines Could be Cramped by a Reduced Workforce Throughout Summer

American’s request comes as the carrier – and other airport-based companies – struggle to find employees to fill vacancies after a round of COVID-19 related layoffs. In early July 2020, American CEO Doug Parker said the airline was overstaffed by 20,000 people at that time, including 8,000 flight attendants. Weeks later, the carrier began offering early buy-out packages, while sending layoff warnings to 25,000 workers. According to the Dallas Morning News, American was able to trim their support staff ranks by 30 percent in 2020 through a combination of buyouts and layoffs.

View Comments (12)

12 Comments

  1. Wunk

    June 9, 2021 at 10:09 am

    Why is this unpaid/volunteered? I get the request for help in placed needed, but pay your damn staff for the work they do. This is weird as hell

  2. bwallet

    June 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Is it even legal to ask hourly workers to do unpaid work? I wouldn’t think so…

  3. Orlando Vic

    June 9, 2021 at 11:07 am

    “unpaid, six-hour volunteer shift”?

    What’s in it for the employees? Can’t AA cough up some money to pay them?

  4. txirish

    June 9, 2021 at 11:41 am

    I’m a business-oriented person. I think most companies try to do the right thing. But THIS? It strikes me as ironic and hypocritical to have massive layoffs and buyouts, and then, a few months later, to ask the remaining employees to work for free because business is better than expected. I thought the big federal payouts were meant to minimize personnel cuts during the pandemic. Might have been better to let American fail, to clear a path for better-run airlines.

  5. RoadWarriorChi

    RoadWarriorChi

    June 9, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    I’ve been an executive platinum member of AA for the past 7 years. I never thought I would say that they could be worse than United, but their service and communication and the way they treat customers is the worst in the industry…and now they’re asking workers to volunteer to work? No wonder why they have the most miserable service in the industry.

  6. Cotumely

    June 9, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    You want your staff to work, pay them.

  7. SamirD

    June 9, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    Umm…when did the airlines become non-profits? This is the most insane request I’ve ever seen an employer ask. At least trade the work for miles or something, but nothing?

  8. drvannostren

    June 9, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    They’re joking right?

    The airports have volunteers already, you have paid employees. Just pay them to come back. Unless the CEO is there volunteering every Saturday, then no one else should.

  9. PhxAce

    June 10, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    I am 99-percent certain that it is illegal to expect hourly employees to work an unpaid shift. Perhaps they’re hiding behind the word “volunteer” but I’ve been in work situations where such unspoken pressure is palpable. Are they truly that financially strapped?

    I just arrived today on AA from PVR to PHX. The way the captain and crew were pitching the affiliate credit card, it felt like I was being held hostage at a time-share sales pitch with the doors locked. It went ON and ON…and ON…

    I know the crew receive a spiff for a successful application, but I still felt embarrassed for them.

  10. MichaelKade

    June 12, 2021 at 6:07 am

    If the normal airport employees are union employees I’m pretty sure it would be a violation of their collective bargaining agreement to bring in paid non-union workers. Volunteering is the legal way around that.

  11. charliebrav0

    June 13, 2021 at 9:07 am

    Since the airline does not have the funding to compensate it’s employees to support the surge in business, it’s not going to report any profits this year, correct? Or will they provide back-pay? Clearly if you don’t have enough cash to run your business, you aren’t making and profits.

  12. glob99

    June 14, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    Will the execs with 6+ figure compensation be volunteering? LOL

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