This week, American Airlines has become the latest major American airline to warn of redundancies from October 1 …
Americans could have up to 25,000 employees
The funding that American airlines received through the CARES law prevents them from dismissing all employees until September 30, but all investments are suspended from October 1. It is becoming increasingly clear that we should expect lots of redundancies from then on, provided that the government does not do so and does not provide more wage support.
This week, American Airlines sent out a letter informing employees about upcoming involuntary birds. The company makes it clear that approximately 25,000 employees in American Airlines ̵
The letter notes that when the CARES law was signed in March, the American had the stated goal of avoiding pine hair, as the company hoped that the demand for air travel would steadily recover before October 1, when the effects of the coronavirus disappeared.
However, this has not happened – revenues in June 2020 decreased by more than 80% compared to June 2019. In addition, as infection rates increase in several states and new quarantine restrictions are introduced, the demand for air travel decreases again.
As a result of all this, the company expects to have more than 20,000 surplus employees this autumn.
While 25,000 WARN notices will be issued, the hope is that the actual number of birds will be reduced through a combination of voluntary extended leave and early release programs:
- America offers 15, 18 and 24 month extended leave programs, which provide continued medical coverage, travel rights without reefs and partial payment for certain employees
- American offers an early retirement program for employees with at least ten years in the company, including a pension claim for compensation for health and positive space travel
American Airlines issued WARN notices to 25,000 employees
WARN division by working group
Here is how many employees in each workgroup received a WARNING message and what percentage of each workgroup represents:
- 9,950 flight attendant, which corresponds to 37% of the working group
- 4,500 employees in the fleet, which corresponds to 26% of the working group
- 3,200 maintenance employees, which corresponds to 22% of the working group
- 2,900 employees in the passenger service, which corresponds to 30% of the working group
- 2,500 pilots, representing 18% of the working group
- 1,000 reservations employees, which represents 23% of the working group
- 175 senders, which corresponds to 36% of the working group
- 50 instructors for the flight crew, representing 15% of the working group
- 10 flight simulation engineers, representing 7% of the working group
18% of pilots received WARN messages
The American is still hoping for more state support
The letter to employees also notes the government’s potential to extend its wage support program by another six months, which would delay any redundancies. The airline hopes that demand would recover next spring, which means that fewer redundancies would be needed.
Employees are encouraged to work with unions to hear their voices in favor of additional state support:
“It is worth noting that each of our unions has expressed support for legislation that would extend support for the wage support program for six months in light of the much longer impact of the pandemic than expected when the CARES law was adopted. As currently proposed, the effect of this legislation would be to delay any involuntary birds until 31 March 2021, at which time there would really be more demand for air travel, and along with this demand, much less need for involuntary mountain ranges throughout industry.
This is a union-led initiative in our industry, but Americans support all legislation that would protect our team’s jobs during these extraordinary times. If you are interested in supporting these legislative efforts, we recommend that you work with your union leaders to ensure that your voice is heard. The fact that an extension of the wage support program is being considered illustrates the incredibly important work you do every day in our country and the world. In particular, each direct flight job supports 13 additional jobs that support our flight infrastructure and industry. “
Can the government increase support for airlines?
American Airlines has issued approximately 25,000 WARN notices, as the company expects to have employees by October 1. These figures are higher than hoped a few months ago, but then again the recovery of air travel is slowing down.
American Airlines has issued WARN messages to significantly fewer employees than United Airlines – despite the fact that United has a smaller workforce, the company gave messages to 36,000 employees, which corresponds to 40% of its workforce.
The reason for this is probably that US has run the most aggressive schedule for major US airlines during the pandemic, and we can expect it to continue.
It is also worth remembering that WARN messages do not necessarily directly reflect the number of employees that will actually be exceeded from October.
I will be curious if the government promises further support. I feel bad for all the flight attendants who are facing so much uncertainty right now (which is the case with so many industries, for that matter).