Thursday, December 4, 2008

United Airlines Getting Rid Of Thousands Of Employees

In the new year there is one thing you can look forward to from United Airlines, no employees or mechanics around the country. The other thing you can look forward to is that the remaining employees are bound to be happy little campers as they try to focus on customer problems while their mind is on all their friends walking out the door and wondering when they are next.

United Airlines plans to let go of 1088 workers at bases around America, according to layoff notices and the unions that represent the workers.

The third-largest US airline also plans to close maintenance facilities at the Newark, New York-LaGuardia and Philadelphia airports on January 11.

United has been working for several months toward reducing its headcount by 7000 positions as it trims the amount of flying it does. It's been using a combination of leaves, buyouts, and furloughs to eliminate those jobs.

The latest furlough plans are part of that 7000 total, which also includes plans to lay off roughly 1500 office and management workers.

United told workers in October that it plans to close maintenance facilities at Newark, LaGuardia, and Philadelphia, and said much of that work would shift to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

United also told workers it would close hangars in Boston and JFK, although some maintenance would still be done in those locations. It said growing international departures would mean some growth in activity at Washington Dulles airport.

The 1088 job cuts would include some 490 ramp and customer service workers represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, spokesman Joseph Tiberi said yesterday. That includes 253 at Chicago O'Hare and 153 in San Francisco around January 25, and 84 at Los Angeles International Airport on February 3.

United also notified the state of California that it plans to furlough 598 San Francisco mechanics around January 11. That was a revision from a previously-disclosed plan to furlough 414 this month.

United's flight attendants avoided involuntary furloughs because enough of them took leave, early retirement, or other voluntary measures.

United and other airlines have been reducing the flying they do.

Yesterday, United reported that it cut November capacity by 14.2 per cent, but its traffic fell faster, by 17 per cent.

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