Regional Carrier Republic Takes CARES Act Money, Fires Workers Already Anyway

Republic Airways flies for American Airlines, Delta, and United. They’re perhaps best known as the actual airline David Dao was flying, under the United Express banner, when he was dragged off an aircraft and bloodied in Chicago two years ago.

The federal government agreed to provide Republic with $206 million in CARES Act payroll subsidies. Airlines taking these funds,

  • Can not furlough any employees through September 30
  • Can not reduce the rates of pay of employees either
  • Face restrictions on executive pay, share buybacks, and dividends

Despite taking the money, Republic has reduced its workforce by 5% already with cuts that “were both voluntary and involuntary.”

Gary Peterson, the International Vice President for Transport Workers Union of America—a group that represents the 34 flight dispatchers—says he’s not aware of another airline that has furloughed workers and taken CARES Act funding.

“No other airline has involuntary furloughed any employee who is taking CARES Act money,” he says. “Even prior to taking CARES Act money they didn’t furlough.”

Republic confirmed it accepted funds from the CARES Act, but didn’t immediately provide information on how the company negotiated with the federal government.

American Airlines EMB-175 Operated by Republic

The airline’s CEO had previously said that they were ineligible to receive CARES Act payroll support because of corporate governance rules they had adopted coming out of bankruptcy which restricted the kinds of loans and grants they could accept. Since they came to an agreement with the Treasury Department they clearly found a way around this – and, it seems, a way to furlough employees prior to September 30.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is very misleading! Republic did furlough workers but it was prior to receiving any funds and due to the fact it took well over 3 months to actually receive any funding. Since their receipt of funds no firing or furloughs have taken place. I have worked for Republic over 18 years and it’s a great company and will continue to be in the future

  2. I was not furloughed. I was terminated along with 300 others on April 24. I worked for Republic for over 16 years and up until that date felt that it WAS as great company. John, please be sure to have a good plan B ready before Sept. Nobody can promise you anything in these times

  3. Same company that fired some of their probationary pilots-including 17 out of seniority, after 9/11/2001.

    Once again, the only airline in the US to do this.

  4. I worked for USAir back then, and by January of 02 they closed my entire call center, (again about 300 souls) commenting in an article that 9/11 was good timing for them because they were looking to close one anyway. Called it an act of God situation to get out of some liabilities. At least I wasn’t at Frontier or Shuttle America.

  5. Republic fired everybody they needed to get rid of to meet their quota of how many people they really needed. Of course it was before they placed their dirty hands on that government money. So now they can get the money and say “well we haven’t fired anybody since we took the money” yeah they did it before. An employee at Republic is just a number not person. They don’t care about you. They never will.

  6. Great company?? Please……I worked for Republic for many years and the MO was always to see how hard you could screw over the employees and still get away with it. I sat in meetings with Bedford where he would explicitly pitch ideas that would negatively impact employees. They are not trustworthy in the slightest. Anyone working there should polish up the resume. Bedford would sell his grandma for the right price.

  7. GoJet Airlines did a mandatory 25% wage decrease across the board starting April 1st. CARES Act funding was received, however pay is still reduced. How is this legally possible?

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