United Airlines to Staff: You May Want to Leave Voluntarily

Airline warns it will be cutting staff come October
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2020 1:23 AM CDT
Updated May 5, 2020 6:59 AM CDT
United Airlines to Staff: You May Want to Leave Voluntarily
A ticketing agent wears a face mask while waiting for passengers at the United Airlines counter at Colorado Springs Airport, Friday, April 24, 2020, in Colorado Springs, Colo.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Airlines are not doing well amid the coronavirus pandemic—and in a memo recently sent to staffers, United Airlines' COO is urging employees to consider voluntarily separating from the company, CNN reports. "You may want to seriously consider if you're in a position to take a voluntary separation," Greg Hart wrote. "You, alone, can decide if a [Voluntary Separation Program] works for you and your family." Hart warned that the company will need to "right-size" its workforce. "Travel demand is essentially zero for the foreseeable future," a company spokesperson recently said.

The airline was forced to cut its May and June schedule by 90% of what was originally planned. A federal assistance package prevents it from laying anyone off for six months, but it plans to start letting staff go as of Oct. 1, and will give those affected notice sometime in July. The memo urged employees to consider voluntarily separating before that comes to pass. Anyone who does so will keep travel and medical benefits for an extended period of time, and will also receive "some continuation of pay," an airline VP said in the memo, per the Chicago Tribune. Those who are laid off without taking the voluntary separation package will not receive severance. Reuters reports the airline plans to cut 30% of management in October. (More United Airlines stories.)

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