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United Airlines Warns Congress it’s Either a Bailout or Huge Job Losses

United Airlines Warns Congress it’s Either a Bailout or Huge Job Losses

Fallout From United Airlines #DogGate Death Continues: U.S. Senator Demands Action As Airline Backs Flight Attendant

United Airlines published an open letter to employees today with a stark warning – if Congress doesn’t stump up the cash for a multi-billion dollar bailout within the next couple of weeks then the airline will move to reduce its costs through furloughs and possibly even permanent redundancies.

“… if Congress doesn’t act on sufficient government support by the end of March, our company will begin to take the necessary steps to reduce our payroll in line with the 60% schedule reduction we announced for April,” the letter which was co-signed by Oscar Munoz, United’s chief executive and the airline’s president Scott Kirby read.

“May’s schedule is likely to be cut even further,” the dire warning continued – the inference being that further schedule cuts would likely result in even more job losses unless Congress manages to reach a deal to save the airline industry.

The memo made for grim reading. The Marriott hotel chain has shuttered many properties and furloughed tens of thousands of employees. MGM Resorts will start furloughs next week and Scandanavian airline SAS has moved to temporarily lay off 90 per cent of its workforce – just some of the job losses happening in the industry that the letter spelt out.

The message was clear… if United’s employees want to avoid a similar fate then they have to act to protect their jobs.

In Sunday’s message, Oscar and Scott were very direct about just how dire this situation has become and what the company is doing to minimize the impact on you, your families and your paycheck.

Open letter to United’s 100,000 employees

“While many in Washington, D.C. now realize the gravity of this situation, time is running out,” Munoz and Kirby warned. “Please consider sending a letter or email to your representatives in Washington, D.C. urging them to take quick, bipartisan action to protect airline jobs,” they both urged.

The letter continues:

“There’s one other important way for you to pitch in and help. Thousands of United employees have applied for a company offered leave of absence – which is an important way to help the company reduce costs. As we continue to reduce our schedule, we will continue to offer additional COLA opportunities so if you have not already applied, please consider doing so. 

None of us caused COVID-19. But we continue to be among the most severely affected by the economic impact of this crisis, due to the outbreak’s breathtaking effect on travel demand.

The hard work you do everyday matters. And the role you play in the U.S. economy matters. It’s time for the people of United Airlines to put a face on what will happen if the federal government does not act.”

U.S. airlines have so far asked for around $58 billion from the federal government to address the unprecedented storm whipped up by the Coronavirus pandemic. The letter was co-signed by union representatives including from the Association of Flight Attendants, the Teamsters and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants has urged any bailout to be linked to specific conditions that would secure employee wages while also preventing airlines from furloughing employees.

Read the full letter

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