United Airlines Pilots Avert Layoffs; Other Workers Hope For Bailout
United Airlines' pilots have voted to accept a deal that will avert 2,850 furloughs that were set for Thursday October 1, while thousands of other US airline employees are hoping Congress will extend federal aid to save their jobs.
An initial $25 billion government bailout that covered airlines' payrolls and protected jobs for six months expires on September 30, driving a fervent last-minute push by the industry for Congress to agree on a fresh stimulus package.
Chicago-based United has already put in motion steps to furlough around 12,000 frontline employees, excluding pilots, on Thursday October 1, officials said.
Under the agreement with its pilots, United's drastically reduced flying schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic will be spread across its entire pilot base, saving jobs and reducing the need for costly training once demand returns.
US airlines have argued that without support from Washington, they will not have a trained workforce in place once demand that is down by approximately 70% from last year starts to recover.
American Airlines, which is lobbying hard for a fresh bailout, is preparing to furlough 19,000 workers on October 1, though chief executive Doug Parker said on Sunday September 27 that he was "confident" that proposed bills with airline relief could be passed before Thursday October 1.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said on Sunday September 27 that she thinks that a deal can be reached with the White House on a coronavirus relief package and that talks were continuing, but it was unclear whether an agreement could emerge in such a short amount of time.
Last week, Democratic lawmakers were starting to draft a bill totaling at least $2.2 trillion.