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Union Says Flight Attendants Will Bear the Brunt of American Layoffs

A spokesperson for the Association for Professional Flight Attendants said Friday it will be mostly flight attendants who beat the brunt of any furloughs if American Airlines is forced to implement involuntary layoffs on March 31.

"These flight attendants have been through a lot,” Paul Hartshorn, Jr. told WFAA in Dallas. “All unions at American have negotiated extended leaves of absence for flight attendants who are currently on the property, who might want to take some time from American to save a job of someone who’s been hired after them. We’re also going to have a voluntary early-out package as well offered to all employees, which would be starting on April 1, 2021, which is the day that these potential furloughs could take place.”

American Airlines this week joined fellow carriers United and Hawaiian in sending federally required notices of potential layoffs.

American is warning up to 13,000 employees that their jobs are at riskunless the industry receives a third stimulus package that includes government grants and loans. Previously, airlines were the beneficiary of $25 billion in March 2020 in the initial CARES Act approved by Congress and $15 billion in December after passage of the second bill.

But both relief bills came with the stipulation that airlines not furlough any employees – for six months, or until Sept. 30, 2020, with the first bill and three months, or until March 30, 2021, with the second bill.

Without an extension of the payroll support program, up to 13,000 American Airlines workers could be furloughed April 1, including 4,245 flight attendants, more than any other workforce in the airline.

Emergency relief from the payroll support program put some members back to work in December, Hartshorn said, but big airlines like American and United quickly found that there wasn’t enough work for the re-hired employees.

Just two months later, jobs are in question again, especially for flight attendants.

“It’s just been a really difficult trying year,” Hartshorn said. “The same flight attendants are worried about their jobs, and it’s something that we thought we’d be past right now with controlling of the COVID-19 virus. We’re just not there yet."

This article originally appeared on Travel Pulse

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