ALL NEWS

United Airlines reaches a deal with pilots to reduce or eliminate layoffs

Jul 19, 2020, 4:16 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2023, 11:56 am
United Airlines...
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 12: A pilot walks by United Airlines planes as they sit parked at gates at San Francisco International Airport on April 12, 2020 in San Francisco, California. San Francisco International Airport has a seen a huge decline in daily flights since the coronavirus shelter in place. United Airlines, the airport's largest carrier with the most daily flights with 290 flights per day before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, has reduced their daily flights to 50 per day. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(CNN) — United Airlines and the union representing its 13,000 pilots have reached an agreement that could avoid involuntary job cuts for the group, according to the union.

United warned 2,250 pilots earlier this month they are at risk of being furloughed when the federal bailout money available to airlines under the CARES Act runs out on September 30. In total, the carrier said it may need to cut 36,000 of the 96,000 jobs at United had at the start of 2020. It also warned that after a modest rebound in flying earlier this summer, United has seen a drop in bookings because of rising Covid-19 cases.

The union says in addition to early retirement packages for pilots nearing the mandatory retirement age of 65, the deal includes a variety of voluntary furlough offers that will maintain benefits, such as health insurance, and other arrangements that allow pilots to fly reduced hours.

“These furlough mitigation programs and early-out options are designed to find as many volunteers as possible who are interested in stepping back from active flying and ultimately reduce the number of pilots who would be furloughed involuntarily,” said the union statement.

“One pilot on involuntary furlough is too many, one day out is too long,” said Captain Todd Insler, chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association unit at United. “The CARES Act can only take us so far.”

United said it was pleased to reach a deal with the pilots and indicated it would try to reach agreements with other unions as well.

“Although we face the reality of having to be a smaller airline due to the historic drop in travel demand, we have worked closely with all of our union partners to identify solutions to help reduce the number of involuntary furloughs,” United said in a statement.

United’s new CEO, Scott Kirby, said on his first day in the job in May that he hoped to reach deals with all the unions to spread the pain of reducing labor costs and avoid involuntary layoffs.

“We’ll be taking time in the months ahead to work with our union partners on creative ideas that would involve reduced hours and leaves of absences instead of furloughs,” said Kirby at the company’s May 20 annual meeting, when he was assumed the top job. “I recognize that even though those options are difficult and will need to be widely shared by everyone here at United, it would save jobs, and most importantly, it would allow us to bounce back quickly, which is the best way to ensure everyone’s jobs and stability for our company for years into the future.”

As part of that plan, some of the airline’s pilots who will go on leave but will be expected to continue their training so they are ready to fly again as soon as their leave ends.

Airline unions have urged Congress to pass another round of assistance to keep carriers from laying off staff through March of next year. While the airlines are not fighting that proposal, they are preparing for potential layoffs come October 1, sending notices to tens of thousands of their employees that they could lose their jobs. In addition to United, American Airlines confirmed it notified 25,000 staff of possible job cuts.

Airlines have received $25 billion in federal grants and loans already, along with the agreement not to cut staff before the end of September. They are eligible for another $25 billion in loans later this fall, but that comes with no prohibition on staff cuts.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian told CNN recently that accepting Delta’s share of those loans would be difficult if the airline was laying off staff. But he also disclosed this week that 17,000 of its 90,000 workers have agreed to take buyouts or early retirement packages and that he’s hopeful the airline might be able to avoid involuntary layoffs as well.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

The Utah Education Association is opposed to H. B. 215. The UEA says school choice and a teacher pa...
Devin Oldroyd

School choice bill is “limiting” public schools, UEA president says

Utah Education Association president Renee Pinkney says the controversial school choice bill is "weakening" and "limiting" public schools.
21 hours ago
Spanish Fork High School in Spanish Fork is pictured on Friday March 12, 2021. Students at Spanish ...
Mark Jones

Concurrent enrollment provides students with options in Nebo School District

Programs such as concurrent enrollment can give high school students and their parents options.
21 hours ago
artificial intelligence banjo...
Curt Gresseth

ChatGPT: Plagiarism super-tool for students or AI brainstorming generator?

Will the future of AI be the interactive chatbot ChatGPT helping cheaters ace exams and tests or a new tool to assist all students in learning?
21 hours ago
FrontRunner...
Elizabeth Weiler

UTA board looks at FrontRunner expansion in Utah County

Utah County is the fastest growing county in the state so UTA is considering a number of expansions to their current FrontRunner and bus lines. 
21 hours ago
Lehi City officials have closed a portion of westbound 1500 North to repair a large sinkhole. On it...
Simone Seikaly

Large sinkhole shuts down portion of westbound 1500 North in Lehi

Lehi City officials said the sinkhole formed on 1500 North due to a water leak.
21 hours ago
The Utah House has advanced the bill that bans transgender-related surgeries on minors and pauses t...
Lindsay Aerts

Utah House votes to pass transgender-related surgery ban

The Utah House has advanced the bill that bans transgender-related surgeries on minors and pauses the treatment of hormone blockers.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
United Airlines reaches a deal with pilots to reduce or eliminate layoffs