A bird flies by in the foreground as a Southwest Airlines jet lands at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 25, 2020.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images
More than 400 Southwest Airlines Mechanics and technicians, about 15% of the working group, have received notices warning them of possible vacations, the carrier said on Wednesday.
Southwest asked employees to make 10% wage cuts to avoid vacation. This would be the first in the Dallas airline’s nearly 50 years of flying. Southwest warned 42 materials specialists of a possible vacation earlier this month.
US airlines have put more than 30,000 workers on leave as they grapple with weak demand in the US Coronavirus pandemic – A crisis that executives say is the worst in their history. According to data from Airlines for America, a trading group that represents most U.S. airlines, the industry will lay off the equivalent of around 90,000 employees by the end of 2020, including takeovers and other voluntary departures.
The carrier said it had notified 403 federal mechanics and technicians warning them that their jobs were at risk. The involuntary cuts could take effect as early as January 25th.
“We are not closing the door to further discussion, but we must make arrangements to save these employees’ jobs and to cope with the extremely difficult economic conditions we are facing,” said Russell McCrady, vice president of industrial relations for Southwest.
The union did not comment immediately, but AMFA plans to continue talks with the company, according to a memo to members seen by CNBC.
Negotiations with Southwest Airlines pilots and flight attendants are ongoing, but the unions of both groups have argued over a company-proposed force majeure clause that the working groups say puts job security at risk.