United Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid

United Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid

United Airlines urged the Trump administration and congressional leadership on Friday to extend the relief the airline industry received in March by six months to avoid massive layoffs. 

United CEO Scott Kirby and industry unions asked Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinLawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal United Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid House Democrats plan to unveil bill next week to avert shutdown MORE and House and Senate leadership in a letter to restart “critical” negotiations on COVID-19 relief legislation that includes the extension. 

The unions included the Association of Flight Attendants–CWA, the Professional Airline Flight Control Association and the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, among others.

The CARES Act, signed into law in late March, included the Payroll Support Program (PSP) for airlines, which meant aid recipients were prohibited from firing or laying off employees until Oct. 1. At that point, United expects to cut 16,370 jobs.

“Without additional funding for the PSP grants, up to 16,000 members of the United family are at risk of involuntary furloughs beginning October 1st. Continuation of this critical program would prevent the furloughs and provide additional time for the industry to reach recovery without losing our colleagues to involuntary furloughs,” they wrote.

Kirby was in Washington on Thursday to meet with White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump reacts to Ginsburg’s death: ‘An amazing woman who led an amazing life’ Trump carries on with rally, unaware of Ginsburg’s death United Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE and said after the meeting that the administration is “very interested” in getting something done for the airline industry.

“We recognize the severe impact the virus is having on our entire economy and the need for support touches many other individuals, organizations and programs. Assistance now can help to lessen the long-term impact to the economy and ultimately speed recovery,” they wrote.

The letter follows one on Wednesday from American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and airline industry unions to the administration and congressional leadership, requesting the same six-month extension.