United Airlines and its pilot union have reached a tentative agreement on furloughs and voluntary separations. The move come as consumer demand once again shrinks due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the USA.
United Airlines + Union Reach Tentative Deal On Pilot Furloughs
Union negotiators and United have reach an agreement concerning as many as 2,200 pilots, about 17% of all United mainline pilots, facing furloughs or Company Offered Leaves of Absences (COLAs).
The proposed agreement struck by United and Air Line Pilot Association (ALPA) negotiators has not been made public yet, but will now be further considered before the Master Executive Council (MEC), a pilot-elected body which represents United Airlines exclusively within the larger ALPA organization.
Captain Todd Insler, MEC Master Chairman, confirmed the grim stats and hinted at a deal:
“Furloughing employees is corporate triage with a terrible impact on thousands of United families. The notification sent yesterday to 2,250 pilots represents over 17 percent of our ranks at risk of furlough this year. Unfortunately, this may not be the full extent of the furloughs, and we must be prepared for more based on the Company’s plan to be 30 percent smaller next summer. ALPA is doing everything we can do to support our fellow pilots, and we look forward to final agreements on these voluntary programs which will mitigate pilot furloughs.”
Insler also warned of more cuts to come, as United continues to speak about being 30% smaller next year than it was at the start of 2020.
United Airlines Notes Downward Trend In Bookings
An 8-K filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission notes that United plans to further reduce its August schedule “resulting from reduced demand to destinations experiencing increases in COVID-19 cases and/or new quarantine requirements or other restrictions on travel.” Furthermore, United expects a non-linear recovery with no hope of certainty until an effective vaccine is created.
“The Company plans to continue to proactively evaluate and cancel flights on a rolling 60-day basis until it sees signs of a recovery in demand, and expects demand to remain suppressed until a widely accepted treatment and/or vaccine for COVID-19 is available. Members of management noted that the Company does not expect the recovery from COVID-19 to follow a linear path, as illustrated by recent booking and demand trends, and that consolidated capacity through the end of 2020 is expected to be generally consistent with August 2020.”
Such a revelation underscores that that the proposed layoffs may just represent a first round of cuts.
Pilots, like other employee groups, find themselves between a rock and a hard place. With demand stagnant once again thanks to a new wave of COVID-19 cases and new travel bans that have accompanied them, the offer on the table now may be better than what is offered later. This isn’t just a game of chess; navigating a pandemic is not simply a matter of skill, but of events beyond the control of either side.
Kinda interesting that details aren’t public because they probably got a sweetheart deal. The flight attendants and mechanics union would pounce on it and demand the same if the deal was good.
And let’s be honest since when do the pilots union agree to anything that doesn’t benefit their members ?!? Never .. that’s why they always get what the demand !!
The others just bicker and cry and don’t stick together; instead they allow the company to do what they want without any pushback.
Fellow employees really don’t get it …. management can do just about every job at the airline .. except 1 .. and that’s fly the planes.
I remember quite well pilot pay cuts of about 1/3 after 911. Plus with all the other non pay cuts, loss of work rules, and moving downward on the aircraft, most pay cuts added up to over 50%. That is those who kept their jobs!