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U.S. Airlines Finally Get Their Hands On Another $15 Billion Federal Bailout

U.S. Airlines Finally Get Their Hands On Another $15 Billion Federal Bailout

Flight Attendant Union Isn't Impressed With $1,000 One-Time Bonus for American and Southwest Workers

Executives at American Airlines will be breathing a sigh of relief today after President Trump finally signed a multi-billion-dollar coronavirus relief and government funding package into law on Sunday afternoon. The Dallas Fort Worth-based carrier had started to recall thousands of furloughed workers despite Trump’s threat to veto the bill at the last minute, describing it as a “disgrace”.

American Airlines, along with the likes of United, Delta, Southwest and other airlines, will now get their hands on a $15 billion slice of the $900 billion emergency funding package. The money is designed to keep employees in a paid job through to the end of March 2021 even if there isn’t enough work to go around because of the slump in travel demand caused by the pandemic.

Congress approved the bailout package on December 20 but President Trump had delayed signing off on the law because he disapproved with the value of stimulus cheques that every American is set to receive.

While American Airlines described the delay as an “unexpected development” the airline went ahead and recalled thousands of furloughed workers even when a federal shutdown was looking like a possibility. Most of the recalled workers received paycheques on Christmas Eve for the month of December.

The vast majority of recalled workers, however, are unlikely to actually be required to attend the workplace in the next few months because there are so few flights actually operating.

United Airlines, which had furloughed 13,000 employees, will also now be able to start the process of recalling workers and Southwest will withdraw a threat to furlough workers for the first time in the airline’s history after getting its hands on the federal bailout.

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) estimates that more than 100,000 airline workers will be brought back into employment, including healthcare benefits, as a result of the bailout.

Members of the powerful flight attendant union bombarded lawmakers with 43,000 phone calls and more than one hundred thousand letters in an effort to get the bill passed.

Airline workers will be hoping that an even larger bailout is proposed once President Elect Joe Biden takes office in January. The success of passing that funding package, however, will largely rely on what the Senate looks like come the Georgia runoff election next month.

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