United Airlines To Furlough 16,000 Workers
If you’ve been following along with MickeyBlog then you know that the hospitality, theme park and travel industries have been badly hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Earlier this week United Airlines announced that due to the increasing impact that pandemic is having on the industry, the airline will furloughing over 16,000 workers starting in October.
According to a recent report in Forbes, this will include personnel, flight attendants, pilots, management, mechanics and airport operations. Under the furlough system, it is possible that in due course the employees may be asked to return to work if the business improves. However, given a decline in demand for air travel, it is not something expected to happen soon.
United along with other airlines have been lobbying Congress for federal aid to bail out the industry. However, another federal stimulus package seems far off both for business and in aiding the American public.
In a memo to staff, United described the hardships the company is facing saying, “The pandemic has drawn us in deeper and lasted longer than almost any expert predicted, and in an environment where travel demand is so depressed, United cannot continue with staffing levels that significantly exceed the schedule we fly.” The company added, “Sadly, we don’t expect demand to return to anything resembling normal until there is a widely available treatment or vaccine.” Reinforcing the need for government financial assistance, United told its employees, “To be clear, an extension would be the one thing that would prevent involuntary furloughs on Oct. 1 and hopefully delay any potential impact on employees until early 2021.”
Why wait until October 1st? Well as Forbes points out, as part of the terms of the $25 billion ballout fund offered to airlines companies are required to retain employees until the end of September. The airline originally accepted $5 billion through CARES Act. This makes United’s plans a bit controversial. Back in May they announced that they had plans to downsize in an effort to stay afloat. This means the airline accepted taxpayer money despite the fact that it new it would be letting workers go as soon as restrictions were lifted.
16,000 is a massive amount of employees to let go. In addition the company offered some employees early retirement, buyouts, reduced hours and other members to try to balance the books and save jobs.
It should also be pointed out that these problems aren’t singular to United. Last week both American and Delta airlines told employees that massive layoffs were coming in October. American Airlines will cut 19.000 jobs and Delta as many as 2,000 pilots alone!
This is a story that we will continue to follow closely here at MickeyBlog. Readers are encouraged to keep checking back with us for further news and updates!
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