As I said yesterday, there is a story behind every furlough. Careers upended. Uncertainty ushered in. Today, we’ll take another look. In Denver, the lives of two young people just changed dramatically. Two flight attendants not were only furloughed, but furloughed on the eve of their wedding day.
Flight Attendants Furloughed On Eve Of Wedding
Thousands of flight attendants were furloughed yesterday across the airline industry, including a young couple in Denver. Brittany Riley and her fiancé Peter Golembiewski are both flight flight attendants for United Airlines. Well, were flight attendants.
Golembiewski was involuntarily furloughed. Riley earlier took a 13-month voluntary furlough to avoid an involuntary furlough. And with that, two gainfully employed individuals with a bright career ahead of them flying for United are now seeking unemployment benefits.
But there’s another twist. Today they are getting married.
Riley told CBS 4 Denver:
“We’re just devastated. We should celebrating and having a great time, and we are getting married tomorrow and Congress just couldn’t get the bill passed.”
That was yesterday. Congress is still contemplating an extension for the now-expired airline Payroll Support Program but nothing has been passed yet.
And it’s not like Riley and Golembiewski are just starting out in life and can move home:
“We’re not just flight attendants; we’re a mother and a father to three very special kids…
“We have no jobs, we have no paychecks and we have three mouths we are going to have to support and figure out how to do that.”
Best of luck to you Britany and Peter!
As the latest unemployment numbers show this morning, Riley and Golembiewski are hardly alone and the airline industry is hardly unique in being adversely affected by this pandemic. Still, these personal stories remind us of how the virus (or our inability to control it) continues to inflict pain even on those who have not contracted it.
image: Brittany Riley
Apparently a deal was reached just now. We will see.
They are young and healthy. No cancer. They are happily married. They should enjoy the wedding and then put on the thinking cap. Maybe join the Army? Maybe learn to do people’s income tax returns? Maybe do some yard work, which pays much more than 30 years ago when kids did it. Even consider moving in with their parents for a few months.
Good luck! Have a happy marriage!
I’m sorry to hear ! But the thing in here from GOP
They’re a real evil!!! They play selfish and disrespectful us!!
They veto the bill whatever Democratic offer!
I see a lack of cooperation among politicians, in general. No party has acted in a respectable manner.
chill with the moral equivocation
GOP is far worse than the Dems. 200K dead is unconscionable, let alone the massive economic hit US has taken which is pretty much unparalleled in the rest of the G7
I say this as a centrist independent
Took a voluntary layoff?
The root cause of the problem is the American people are too stupid or stubborn. Americans don’t wear surgical masks. They either don’t wear a mask or they wear some flimsy cloth thing with a gap to the right and left of the nose.
True, Trump should wear a mask for show but that is just window dressing. Biden would have similar pandemic results if he were president (he would wear a mask, good, but he would resist travel restrictions and let people from countries with high rates of Covid to come freely (such as Belgium, UK, India, formerly People’s Republic of China))
It’s very sad that they have to suffer in this way. They deserve better. Of course the shysters running the airlines will focus 100% on stockholder value ( ie the same as their own self-interest). They could care less about the ‘small people’.
Similarly, the GOP reprobates in DC will cartwheel backwards to accommodate the big end of town, but happily screw the little guys for all they’re worth, and then some. Beyond despicable….
At least Brittany and Peter will have each other to help in this fight. I was an aircraft refueler and got furloughed back in April,
So all I can do us send them my best wishes and to please get together regardless of this unfortunate situation. Remember it is easier to fight the fight when it is two. Best of luck guys!
So sorry for them…but focus on the good and not the bad right now. In the late ’90s I was laid off from my job (no severance, cashed out 1 week of PTO) just 4 days before my wedding. Even with some looming need to find work it really was a wonderful time, we still celebrate more than 20 years later! So go enjoy this time, things will work out for you.
She has a package from taking voluntary furlough, they both get unemployment, and they knew this was coming many months ago. I’m curious if they purposely set the wedding date for maximum pity and gofundme potential. Do like millions of other Americans not lucky enough to have had 6 months guaranteed employment on the taxpayer fine: find another job.
What package did I get exactly? We did not set up a gofund me. We had faith in our country and congress to do the right thing.
Lost my job yesterday at United. I’m heartbroken. I loved my job.
Stay strong DC! I wish you all the best.
Anyone who knows anything about furloughs you should know, you can’t “take a voluntary furlough to avoid an involuntary furlough”. In fact, if you are awarded a voluntary furlough that means you could have kept some form of your job! In this case she would have kept all her medical/dental/vision benefits plus all her flight benefits plus she would have been able to fly 35hours/month. She chose her voluntary furlough! Nobody forced that on her! Better than what the bottom 5500 are getting!
Enough with the “woe is me”! Honey, get off the cross – someone worse off than you could use the wood! In 3 months the bottom 5500 have nothing! Give them a break! And this is life in the turbulent airline industry! A direct attack on the United States on September, 11, 2001 and I was out of a job with nothing & I lost friends & colleagues. I’m in the same position as this flight attendant right now, but I made an educated decision. And if she made an uneducated decision, that is still on her. As long as we have our lives, our health, and the love of family & friends why can’t we just appreciate what we have and remember – there is always someone even worse off than the bottom 5500!
And next time, please do some simple fact checking! This is despicable, not to mention unprofessional, and it’s these easy, obvious, and avoidable mistakes that give journalists a bad name!
Elliot, your analysis is incomplete. Because of the many flight attendants who took voluntary furloughs and early separations (i.e., those that “could have kept some form of their job” as you put it), the number of flight attendants who now face involuntary furloughs is lower. Maybe that would have impacted her, maybe not. But like my Alaska Airlines family story this week (link below), she contends she took a voluntary furlough in hopes that her husband would not be involuntarily furloughed. I’ll give her credit for that. And yes, to some extent we can all use a healthy dose of, “Honey, get off the cross” thinking. Yet there’s a certain empathy required in this situation, just like after 9/11/01. The airline industry has been disproportionally hit and no one saw this coming. Many across the nation and around the world have had their lives overturned, but a high concentration has been in this particular business. The airline industry has ups and downs, but not like this — this was truly something that could not have been predicted.
Haha what I thinkin
I’m curious about where along the road of life WR2 and some others on this thread lost there empathy. While these folks who just lost something extremely important to them go find a new job, I think you and the rest of you who have a cold heart ought to do some soul searching and go find out where you lost your compassion and concern for others. I think you’ll feel much better in life with a warm heart and a sincere concern for others well being. This article is to help us all better understand what people are going through. If all you can come up with is negative assumptions and crude advice, I believe your in worse shape than they are. I hope you find your way back to happiness and that they do too.
I lost my empathy for this nonsense when I lost my job and was out of work for an extended period big time, but I was not fortunate to be in a preferred industry where employment is guaranteed. It’s a job loss, not a dear sentence. How many lost their jobs this year? 20-30 million? And we’re supposed to cry for this 30k who got 6 months of do nothing work and lots of advance notice to make other plans? Give me an f’n break. This is taxpayer money, not charity.
Congratulations guys at least you have each other now you can enjoy your children together like a family. Another thing you guys are furlough you still have a job. But for Expressjet Airline 3500-4000 employees United Airlines closed our doors. That is evil.
EXACTLY, WR2! I smell a big time money grab. They probably already have an agent. They’ve had more than ample time to get their ducks in a row, set up a plan. They even had ample time to inform guests of the wedding postponement. That would have been the responsible thing to do. How many guests could attend their wedding during this crisis, anyway? They ALREADY HAVE three kids! What’s the hurry?!
And you’ve got to love the young couple’s last comment: “….we have three mouths we are going to have to support and figure out how to do that.” Yes, that’s called ADULTHOOD! Welcome, you’ve arrived! That statement is so typical of their generation.
On that horrific day, 9/11/2001, I lost my job…..that day. I didn’t have 6 months to prepare. While job prospects were a bit more plenty back then than now, it was still an emotionally crushing time. If these two had any world awareness (not just their own little world), they even would have had MORE than 6 months to prepare. I’m no scientist, but when I first heard last January/February what was brewing in China, I knew it was going to be far reaching. I knew I was going to feel the pain, one way or another.
Best of luck to them becoming responsible, becoming adults. I advise the bride to keep an eye on her groom. His reputation at the airline’s inflight precedes him.
A lot of people lost their jobs this year. They didn’t get 6 months of pay…for some to sit at home (since flights were drastically reduced). While I feel somewhat bad for them, they knew what was going to happen.
I fly Delta a lot (76 flights this year already)..and while I applaud them for blocking the middle seat, there really isn’t a reason to keep doing it. You cannot socially distance on flights. People will get this virus, and most will be fine. Congress (i.e. the taxpayers) should not bailout the airlines.
3 kids already? And they needed to get married now? I smell a blog, GoFundMe, Instagram, Facebook, etc… coming out of this. Snowflake generation has no boundaries,
Well, this poor young couple was crying on the nationwide NBC Nightly News tonight. Guess their agent has them well booked on the media circuit.
I feel bad about these FAs but I’m torn about the taxpayers footing the bill. These airlines have made a ton of money and have access to capital markets. They also have real assets that they can leverage up to raise cash. It’s frustrating that they are hanging their employees out to dry and hoping that the American tax payer give them a free hand. I think unemployment benefits should be begets up instead of giving the airlines another dime! Leading economists agree with that point of view. It’s a slippery slope.. why just bail out the airlines, why not bail out hotel workers, restaurant and bar workers, office cafeteria workers etc etc.
Again I feel terrible for the individuals but I think the airlines need to come together and get their act together. US govt should NOT be giving the airlines money!
Ok these 2 people are stupid. The airlines have been bad since the end of March. But let’s plan a wedding and hope Congress pass our extra money. Please. These people have been in more then one sad story that had been posted. I think they like the publicity. Meanwhile get a job, you are both healthy and clearly happy. So go to work. Dumbasses