Over 15,000 United Flight Attendants Out of Work, Unless Congress Acts to Extend Payroll Support Immediately

WASHINGTON, DC (September 2, 2020) — Following the reduction in force announcement from United Airlines, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International President Sara Nelson released following statement:

"More than 15,000 Flight Attendants will be off United Airlines' payroll on October 1st if Congress fails to extend the Payroll Support Program (PSP). United's furlough announcement does not tell the full story. While just over 1000 Flight Attendants made the painful decision to retire early or separate employment, 14,000 Flight Attendants will be without work on October 1 unless Congress acts. There are 2,043 Flight Attendants who have volunteered to take time off in order to save another job, but that leaves 11,961 Flight Attendants without work. While a portion of those Flight Attendants were given an option to retain their healthcare, they have no guarantee of work or a paycheck. The remaining 6,920 Flight Attendants will be involuntarily furloughed, ultimately leaving them with no work and no healthcare. The hurt cuts deep and even 'voluntary' options include incredible sacrifice for Flight Attendants and all the people whose jobs depend on our paychecks too.

"Where will we go? The unemployment line. In America today, for every one job available there are five people looking for work. The situation in the airline industry is not better than July when furlough notices went out. It's actually worse.

"But the massive job loss and broader harm to our economy with a shrunken airline industry can all be avoided. Flight attendants across the country are demanding Congress take action now to protect aviation workers and all working Americans who have been affected by this devastating pandemic. Together with other aviation workers we have sent hundreds of thousands of letters and made even more calls to offices. We have conducted protests at Congressional offices and there are many more planned in the coming week. Congressional inaction is not an option.

"There is no weekend or vacation for the virus. Its catastrophic health and economic effects do not stop. Every day of inaction is more lives lost and a higher and higher cost of recovery. Real people are hurting right now and it is cruel to keep people in a constant state of uncertainty.

"PSP, the most successful jobs program in the CARES Act, has kept aviation workers in our jobs, connected to our healthcare, continued service to all of our communities, and credentialed essential workers in our jobs ready to lift the economy once coronavirus is under control. There is overwhelming bipartisan support to continue this program because without it every community will suffer.

“Flight Attendants and our families are making life-altering decisions as we face the loss of income, healthcare, and stability while still confronting a raging pandemic while working on what could be our last flights. It is cruel to keep people in a state of deep worry and uncertainty. It's got to stop with #ReliefNow from Congress. We need Leader McConnell at the table with Speaker Pelosi right now. Get it done."


The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, (AFA) AFL-CIO represents nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 19 airlines. AFA is the union that has advanced the Flight Attendant profession for 74 years, beating back discrimination and improving wages, benefits, working conditions, and aviation safety, health and security in the aircraft cabin. AFA also partners with the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.


News Desk

Latest News

See All »

Media Releases

See All »

Latest Tweets

Union Plus Benefits

union-plus.jpgUnion Plus Benefits for AFA-CWA Members!
AFA-CWA members are automatically eligible for the following Union Plus benefits and discounts.

More benefits »