July 16, 2020
Since early this year, the airline industry has faced unprecedented impacts from the COVID-19 virus. Passenger loads, normally in the millions per day, are only now in the thousands. Airlines have parked hundreds of their aircraft and reduced flights to a fraction of what they normally flew.
While we saw an increase in the number of people flying, recently many states are now seeing an increase in COVID-19 infections. Some states are reinstating their “stay at home” orders or closing many of their businesses. As a result, bookings are dropping again.
During all of this at our workplace, many are facing serious challenges at home. The loss of family, friends, and coworkers adds to the suffering our members face every day. Worrying about what tomorrow will bring is a constant concern for many of you. One thing that has helped all of us over the past several months is the Payroll Support Program (PSP), a part of the CARES Act. This legislation was passed to provide support to the airlines, with specific requirements that the money is used to maintain payroll. It was not used to inflate bank accounts, pay CEO’s salaries, or buy back stock, but rather went directly to the workers. This Act allowed everyone to continue their employment. That legislation expires on October 1, 2020.
As you have been reading in the news, airlines have announced they will begin issuing WARN notices to their employees. United Airlines announced reductions of over 36,000 and American just announced over 25,000 possible reductions. The other airlines will be announcing their planned reductions very soon. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) offers: “protection to workers, their families, and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs.
At this time, there is one big thing that can help reduce the number of people affected by the pending furloughs the companies are planning. We need the CARES Act extended, to provide additional funding to the airlines to keep their workers employed while the system recovers. This extension would provide funding through March 31, 2021.
Now is the time to send your member in Congress a message, asking for their support. Please click on this link – it only takes 2 minutes – and ask for their support. Have your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors write for support of this legislation. Click here for message to Congress.
Please read the letter from IAM GVP Sito Pantoja on how important this is for all airline workers. Click here for Sito’s letter.
President Directing General Chair