According to an article in the Star-Telegram, American Airlines is experiencing more job losses, cutting 323 flight attendants by the end of the month as they downsize their operations by 7 percent due to shrinking demand for travel. The Fort-Worth based airline cut over 800 flight attendants last year due to the recession and is in the process of cutting more labor costs as it struggles to survive and avoid bankruptcy. The current move by American Airlines is most interesting because it recently recalled furloughed workers and many of those people will experience job losses.
The article quoted Laura Glading, President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants:
“This will be most devastating for them,” she said in a message to union members. “Our heart goes out to our members who will soon be without income, active coverage for health benefits and the career they love.”
The furloughed employees facing job losses will be given the option of accepting travel separation program, which gives them up to 10 years of flight benefits in exchange for giving up their right to be recalled. Is it just me or is this travel separation program a bit out of touch with reality? I can guarantee you that most of these flight attendants facing job losses would prefer a job to flight benefits that they probably can’t use because with no income they won’t have money to provide for their basic living expenses.
Remember, many Americans have a low rate of savings so they’re not prepared for job losses and need some type of income. Therefore exchanging the possibility of regaining a job for flight benefits might be a foolish decision unless they’re independently wealthy or have another job lined up, which is unlikely in this economy. But it’s not just flight attendants facing these types of offers from employers. Many workers facing job losses are being asked to relinquish valuable options such as the right to be recalled in the case of union workers at American Airlines, in exchange for benefits that are useless for the average worker facing a job loss. As the recession worsens expect to see more workers facing job losses and employer offers that are not worth the paper they’re written on.