TULSA, Okla. — American Airlines announced they are moving forward with a mass furlough as CARES Act stimulus funds expire.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said in a letter to employees that 19,000 employees would be furloughed starting Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. However, the furloughs will be canceled if law makers are able to make a deal.
American Airlines first warned of potential layoffs due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic back in July 2020. The airline sent letters to roughly 25,000 employees warning them of possible layoffs and furloughs. The letters from the airline specifically said they were taking this step because of “overages [they] may start to see Oct. 1 when [their] Payroll Support Program funding expires.”
There are 800 anticipated furloughs for American employees working in the "maintenance and related" team systemwide, according to a company spokesperson. This number could include workers in the tech ops division at its Tulsa maintenance base, which employs more than 5,000 technicians. However, the impact of American's planned furloughs or layoffs to Tulsa is unknown at this time.
Chris Gutierrez, a maintenance technician inside the airline's maintenance base at Tulsa International Airport, told 2 Works for You he was laid off by American Airlines, Thursday.
“Even though we did get furloughed this morning some of us were able to get our stuff loaded up the night before and have our farewells this morning," Gutierrez said. "We’re trying to get everything in high hopes to hopefully get back and return."
Gutierrez filled one of 600 open positions American Airlines said it created when it announced a $550 million expansion to the airline's largest maintenance facility in Tulsa. Gutierrez said he just moved to Tulsa from Oklahoma City in March.
“Who comes in last is actually unfortunately the first ones to go," Gutierrez said.
“It’s a very big number of us that actually got impacted by being brought in and moved down here and only a few months later we’re being told, ‘Hey, we can’t afford to keep you much longer' and it's unfortunate."
Gutierrez said he was told by American Airlines he was one of 170 employees in the maintenance division put on furlough.
American Airlines spokesperson Sarah Jantz told 2 Works for You in an email regarding its Tulsa Maintenance Base development:
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