United Airlines made big news this week by announcing they could lay off as much as 39% of their employees (which some media exaggerated as half).
Now American Airlines is preparing to send out WARN Act notices, too according to the TWU-IAM association which represents mechanics and fleet service workers at the carrier.
American Airlines has informed the Association that it will be sending Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications (WARN Act notifications) to Association covered employees. This notice, which is required by law, will contain information indicating that American Airlines may furlough employees.
Like United, American is preparing for the eventuality that they’ll have to lay off large numbers of employees, and giving notice in order to comply with relevant laws. They don’t yet know how many employees that will be – American CEO told employees in a recorded discussion that they’re looking at having 10-20% too many pilots, and 20% – 30% too many flight attendants.
The number of actual layoffs will depend on how many employees take voluntary leaves and early retirements, and whether the recovery in travel is stalling, Airlines and their unions are looking for another payroll bailout, though this time the case is far weaker than the first time around – when it was at least plausible to claim that the pandemic would be over in six months, and air travel would be ready to bounce right back – because now it’s clear to the airlines themselves that there will be less demand for air travel and fewer flights for some time. That means employees need assistance transitioning to new careers. The economy suffers if that transition is delayed.