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.