In a town hall meting with employees, United Airlines’ CEO Scott Kirby expressed hope that an additional round of airline federal payroll support will avert looming October job cuts.
Kirby “Hopeful” That CARES Act 2 Will Pass
Speaking to employees last week, Kirby said:
“I know October 1st is a scary date that’s looking at us, is staring us in the face. And one, I am hopeful that the CARES Act will pass–CARES 2 will pass, will extend things out by six months.”
Senate Republicans have proposed a new stimulus package that would include another $1,200 check to most Americans and more funding for schools. But the initial bill, introduced on Monday, does not include an extension of payroll support for airlines.
Last month, U.S. airline unions jointly asked Congress for an additional $32 billion in payroll support, which would keep all employees on the payroll for another six months.
“Only through an extension of PSP grants can Congress ensure that airline workers will continue to stay on payroll and ready to turn the industry around, prevent mass unemployment in October, and keep aviation workers ready to lift off as travel picks back up. We urge you to include this simple and necessary provision in the next COVID-19 response package, and appreciate your continued support for airline and airline contractor employees in our country.”
You can read the full letter here (.pdf)
CARES 2 is in its early stages so there remains plenty of time for this language to be inserted into the bill.
Later in the town hall, Kirby said:
“I’d also like to thank our union partners, who’ve been there talking to us. This has not been–this is not an easy situation for anybody. But it’s also the kind of place where if we can work together, and find win-win ways to minimize even the short term impact to employees, that’s been great. And they have taken a huge leadership role in the CARES Act 2. That’s certainly the biggest thing we can do to minimize the near-term pain.”
Indeed, corporate welfare always helps the favored companies…
With an election in November and the incumbent not wanting to face derision for mass airline layoffs the month before, I think it is a given that airlines will receive at least a temporary (say 90 days) extension in personnel funding. For Kirby, that would push off painful job cuts and the showdown with unions such cuts would entail.