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American Sends Layoff Notices to 25,000 Employees

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Image Source: American Airlines

After warning of overstaffing, American Airlines is now preparing to send layoff notices to around 25,000 employees. The letter, which was shared by American on social media, suggests the carrier could cut 37 percent of their flight attendants and 36 percent of their passenger services staff.

American Airlines is preparing to eliminate up to 25,000 people from their workforce, with the majority of cuts coming from the flight attendant and passenger services corps. In a letter shared on social media by an airline spokesperson, the Fort Worth-based carrier warned layoff notices were imminent.

Majority of Cuts Could Come From Flight Attendants, Passenger Services and Dispatchers

In June 2020, an internal note sent by American executives said the airline could be overstaffed by up to 20,000 people, including 8,000 flight attendants. But a lack of sales and passenger demand suggests the necessary cuts could go much deeper than first anticipated.

In the internal message from American CEO Doug Parker and Robert Isom, they say the cuts are directly related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the team say they tried to ward off staff reductions by accepting Payroll Support Program funds from the CARES Act, the lack of passenger traffic and a prolonged depression in sales necessitates the cuts.

“We currently anticipate having 20,000 more team members on payroll than we will need to operate our smaller schedule this fall,” the leadership team wrote in the message. “For our airports and tech ops teams, we are also accounting for displacements that could occur as team members shift to other locations, so those potentially impacted individuals are included in the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) process. Using those guidelines, we will issue WARN notices to approximately 25,000 team members.”

Among the different operational areas, 9,950 flight attendants and 2,500 pilots will receive WARN notices. If the full number of employees are removed, it would reflect a cut of 37 percent of all flight attendants, and 18 percent of all pilots.

Table courtesy: American Airlines

Other groups that will be heavily affected include the passenger service team, with 2,900 people receiving WARN notices, while the reservations team could reduce their numbers by 1,000 employees. Fleet services employees will receive 4,500 WARN notices, while 3,200 maintenance workers are also on the list.

American Offers Early-Out and Voluntary Leave Programs, While Supporting Union PSP Extension Efforts

To minimize the number of layoffs, American is offering two voluntary leave programs to employees. Workers are being offered an extended leave program, or an early retirement plan for those qualified.

The “Early-Out” program is available to employees with 10 years of occupational seniority. The plan will offer up to $150,000 in retiree health reimbursement funds, along with positive-space travel benefits. Those with less than 10 years of seniority may qualify for a smaller package, including medical insurance and non-revenue travel privileges for “a period of time.”

The extended leave program is available to affected employees, with options for a 15, 18 or 24-month leave. The plans include medical insurance coverage and partial pay for some employees.

The airline is also throwing some support behind a labor union-led campaign to extend the Payroll Support Program. Although they will not participate, American is encouraging employees to “work with…union leaders” in continuing to pressure Capitol Hill in extending the program.

2 Comments
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brazilexpert July 17, 2020

OMG took a pandemic to us passengers see those old , noxious, flight Sky-hags out off the AA doors! AA please do the same with all the others, you guys know your international fame! please take this opportunity get all them out...pleaseeeee

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schelsr July 17, 2020

Great opportunity to thin the herd of the old, noxious, rude, tired AA Skyhag population