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United COO to employees: Consider voluntary separation / And now layoff notices

United COO to employees: Consider voluntary separation / And now layoff notices

Old May 4, 20, 8:31 pm
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United COO to employees: Consider voluntary separation / And now layoff notices

"In a memo to some United Airlines staffers, which was obtained by CNN Business, Greg Hart — the company's chief operations officer — said the airline will need to "right size" its workforce.

"You may want to seriously consider if you're in a position to take a voluntary separation," Hart wrote. He added, "You, alone, can decide if a [Voluntary Separation Program] works for you and your family.""

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/04/business/united-voluntary-separation/index.html
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Old May 4, 20, 8:44 pm
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While difficult to read - you have to feel bad not just for UA employees for airline employees in general - these are the kind of messages UA needs to send to its employees - which is, don't wait until Oct 1 to lose your job if you can find something else sooner.
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Old May 4, 20, 8:58 pm
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There was an article this morning about 30% pilot reductions. This quote from UA's Chief Pilot was disturbing:

“This displacement bid aligns pilot staffing to a schedule reduction of around 30%, yet our schedule in May, and our expected schedule for June, is reduced by 90%. No one knows when travel demand will return, so unfortunately, the results of this displacement are likely to be a baseline from which future displacements are conducted.”

Is he saying pilot reductions will be proportional to schedule reductions? If that's true for other functions (FAs, mechanics, etc.) then UA might go from 100,000 employees on Jan 1, to 10,000 employees on Oct 1? That would be a tragedy.

Last edited by spartacusmcfly; May 4, 20 at 9:53 pm
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Old May 4, 20, 9:00 pm
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This mess hits us on the corporate side later this month - mandatory 4-day work weeks for the foreseeable future with layoff announcements in mid-July (for an October 1 effective date). I can't even think about it this evening -- working for an airline is all I've ever wanted to do. I have no idea what will happen if I lose my career halfway through it

This is going to be a horrible 2020.
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Old May 4, 20, 9:16 pm
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Originally Posted by SteveHK View Post
This mess hits us on the corporate side later this month - mandatory 4-day work weeks for the foreseeable future with layoff announcements in mid-July (for an October 1 effective date). I can't even think about it this evening -- working for an airline is all I've ever wanted to do. I have no idea what will happen if I lose my career halfway through it

This is going to be a horrible 2020.
SteveHK, I'm sorry.
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Old May 4, 20, 9:29 pm
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What a gut-punch. The only thing I ever truly wanted to do was work for United; I could never find my “in”. For the first time I’m glad I didn’t. A very heartfelt sorry to all UA employees - this is such a mess.

I don’t know how unemployment insurance works but this may be an attempt by UA to limit it’s payout for the thousands they’ll let go in October. As far as I know if you voluntarily separate you get zilch in unemployment benefit.
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Old May 4, 20, 9:47 pm
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UA has sent a memo to employees today citing a 30% management reduction effective October 1. For WSJ subscribers: https://www.wsj.com/articles/united-...30-11588645117
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Old May 4, 20, 9:51 pm
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Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
Is he saying pilot reductions will be proportional to schedule reductions? If that's true for other functions (FAs, mechanics, etc.) then is UA might go from 100,000 employees on Jan 1, to 10,000 employees on Oct 1? That would be a tragedy.
Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
1. Employees - Post Oct 1, they will only employ folks on profitable passenger or cargo routes, so no cash loss here. Everyone else will be laid off, with the exception of minimal HQ staff.
...
UA just needs to survive #6 and they will now have plenty of cushion to do this. As long as a vaccine comes in early 2021, UA will be in great shape.
You were the one saying that UA could just "lay off" everybody who wasn't on a "profitable" route, and they'd be in "great shape." Which is it?

Originally Posted by n198ua View Post
I don’t know how unemployment insurance works but this may be an attempt by UA to limit it’s payout for the thousands they’ll let go in October. As far as I know if you voluntarily separate you get zilch in unemployment benefit.
Laying off a large number of people would cause a rise in your unemployment insurance premiums, but to the extent, if any, that this is financially motivated, it's more likely to be about avoiding severance pay. I don't know United's severance policy, but if it's like most large companies, I imagine it's based on X weeks of pay for every Y years of service. But that's just speculation -- there can be a lot of non-financial motivations to offer a program like this too. Even if you don't save a single dollar over involuntary separations, every resignation may mean one fewer layoff -- one more person who really needs the job who gets to keep it, perhaps.
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Old May 4, 20, 10:10 pm
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How long until others announce the same thing? DL, AA, B6, WN, F9, NK? UA can't be alone in the pain.
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Old May 4, 20, 10:25 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Laying off a large number of people would cause a rise in your unemployment insurance premiums, but to the extent, if any, that this is financially motivated, it's more likely to be about avoiding severance pay. I don't know United's severance policy, but if it's like most large companies, I imagine it's based on X weeks of pay for every Y years of service. But that's just speculation -- there can be a lot of non-financial motivations to offer a program like this too. Even if you don't save a single dollar over involuntary separations, every resignation may mean one fewer layoff -- one more person who really needs the job who gets to keep it, perhaps.
I doubt it's about severance pay. wouldn't the severance between a voluntary separation and a layoff be similar? i would think the point of a voluntary separation is to first give it to the people who want it. at least that's been my experience in the 3 or so cycles i've worked on corporate downsizing. it's kind of geared towards those people who you hear say "gee, i wish i got laid off"
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Old May 4, 20, 10:36 pm
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While there are obvious benefits if employees voluntarily separate, it seems a good part of this is -- don't try to hang on thinking this all will fix itself in a few months, use the next few months, while still with some income, to get a new start somewhere else. Don't wait and then find yourself with nothing.

This will be a hard reality for many but the sooner you start the better chance of having a better outcome. (speaking from some experience).
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Old May 5, 20, 12:01 am
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Originally Posted by deskover54 View Post
I doubt it's about severance pay. wouldn't the severance between a voluntary separation and a layoff be similar? i would think the point of a voluntary separation is to first give it to the people who want it. at least that's been my experience in the 3 or so cycles i've worked on corporate downsizing. it's kind of geared towards those people who you hear say "gee, i wish i got laid off"
Yes, that would be typical, but if you start from the assumption that UA is doing this as an underhanded way to save money, then perhaps they'll offer a discounted package to people who are looking to leave early... Or maybe they're hoping people will just quit, without any package, because they found another opportunity and don't want to risk losing it by waiting for UA.

I doubt that this is actually intended as a way for UA to save this relatively small amount of cash, but if it were, that's how they'd do it.
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Old May 5, 20, 12:24 am
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So we taxpayers gave United, and other carriers, billions in bailout money with the result being a massive cut in service and coverage and a plan to decimate the workforce the moment the no-layoff restriction is lifted at midnight Sept 30?

I think we've been taken for a ride on this deal - the bailout should have required an immediate layoff so people could collect unemployment with the $600 subsidy today through end of July and regular unemployment through end of the year, with a requirement for 75% or better payroll restoration no later than January 1, 2021, or the government would assume full equity ownership of the carrier until the loan was paid back. What idiot inked this dumb arrangement?

Unless we see a big bounce back in the economy within 30-45 days, which is unlikely, I am hopeful the morons in Washington will extent that $600 through end of the year. It can make a huge difference for people who are laid off in an industry where finding replacement work is not easy.
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Old May 5, 20, 1:04 am
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Originally Posted by deskover54 View Post
I doubt it's about severance pay. wouldn't the severance between a voluntary separation and a layoff be similar? i would think the point of a voluntary separation is to first give it to the people who want it. at least that's been my experience in the 3 or so cycles i've worked on corporate downsizing. it's kind of geared towards those people who you hear say "gee, i wish i got laid off"
I too don't understand why people would voluntarily leave if there is no severance package and no unemployment. What is the incentive?

If the hope is some will leave voluntarily to save others' jobs, my observation is that you can end up with the most capable and marketable employees leaving. That is not what a company should encourage.
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Old May 5, 20, 1:09 am
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
While there are obvious benefits if employees voluntarily separate, it seems a good part of this is -- don't try to hang on thinking this all will fix itself in a few months, use the next few months, while still with some income, to get a new start somewhere else. Don't wait and then find yourself with nothing.

This will be a hard reality for many but the sooner you start the better chance of having a better outcome. (speaking from some experience).
UA employees, before deciding what to do, read up on the WARN act. It will likely be triggered in every major UA office.
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