AFA on United No Furlough Announcement: “The Payroll Support Program Worked”

Washington, DC (June 11, 2021) —Following United Airlines’ announcement that there will be no furloughs when the Payroll Support Program funding ends in September, 2021, AFA International President Sara Nelson released the following statement:

“This announcement makes it clear: the Payroll Support Program (PSP) worked.

“In every previous crisis where airlines took major losses, workers and passengers paid the price. Airlines cut jobs, pay and benefits for workers, while bankruptcies and consolidation meant more fees and less options for passengers.

“We proposed the PSP to keep workers whole AND to keep our industry solvent and ready to fly. Simply put, PSP delivered. Aviation workers received a steady check, healthcare, and benefits through the pandemic without adding more workers to over-taxed unemployment systems. Airlines were able to stem the bleeding and avoid catastrophic losses while continuing to provide essential service to move critical personnel and materials from PPE to vaccines.

 “If it wasn't for our union, the Flight Attendants who were furloughed on October 1, 2020 when Congress failed to act, wouldn't have gotten furlough pay or continued healthcare and the right to return to work without any loss of seniority or other benefits. We got everyone back on the payroll as of December 1, 2020 and with all benefits restored as if never furloughed. Keeping workers certified means there won't be delays to meet demand as it returns rapidly this summer.

“And on top of it all, our workers-first program capped executive compensation for two years after the relief period ends and banned stock buybacks and dividends. You won’t see an airline CEO on those lists making more while people suffer in the middle of this crisis.  

“This program should serve as a model for the future. Now that we’re on our way out of the worst crisis in aviation history, we look forward to building a just recovery that respects the contributions of all the workers who keep us flying high.”


The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, (AFA) AFL-CIO represents nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 17 airlines. AFA is the union that has advanced the Flight Attendant profession for 75 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


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