United Airlines asks workers to voluntarily separate from company ahead of job cuts

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United Airlines is bracing for turbulent times ahead.

The Chicago-based carrier has issued internal memos to its workforce outlining plans to cut a significant number of administrative and executive jobs by Oct. 1.

The staffing cuts come as United Airlines faces drastically reduced demand for travel amid the ongoing coronavirus health crisis.

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“We have to acknowledge that there will be serious consequences to our company if we don’t continue to take strong and decisive action, which includes making decisions that none of us ever wanted or expected to make,” wrote Kate Gebo, the executive vice president of human resources and labor relations, in one of the memos shared with Fox News.

One of the memos urged employees to consider voluntarily separating from the company ahead of Oct. 1, when “at least 30 percent” of the management and administrative positions will be cut.

One of the memos urged employees to consider voluntarily separating from the company ahead of Oct. 1, when “at least 30 percent” of the management and administrative positions will be cut. (iStock)

In total, United plans to lay off more than 3,400 management and administrative employees, Reuters reported.

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The memos also urged employees to consider voluntarily separating from the company – with "robust package benefits" – ahead of Oct. 1, when “at least 30 percent” of the management and administrative positions will be cut. As of Oct. 1, when the cuts will take place, this severance option will no longer be available, the memo indicated.

"We recognize that this is a significant change, and it's one we don't take lightly," Gebo wrote. "But unfortunately, in these times, ensuring United's future recovery means we are not able to make this option available."

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Another memo indicated that about 30 percent of the airline’s pilots will be “displaced” as of Oct. 1, as well.

“We have to acknowledge that there will be serious consequences to our company if we don’t continue to take strong and decisive action, which includes making decisions that none of us ever wanted or expected to make,” wrote Kate Gebo, the executive vice president of human resources and labor relations, in one of the memos seen by Fox News.

“We have to acknowledge that there will be serious consequences to our company if we don’t continue to take strong and decisive action, which includes making decisions that none of us ever wanted or expected to make,” wrote Kate Gebo, the executive vice president of human resources and labor relations, in one of the memos seen by Fox News. (iStock)

Affected employees will be notified in mid- to late July on whether they will no longer be working for United as of Oct. 1.

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The carrier was one of many U.S. carriers to apply for, and receive, payroll aid from the U.S. government in order to continue operations amid the coronavirus pandemic. As a condition of accepting the aid, the airline had agreed not to involuntarily furlough or lay off employees through Sept. 30.

"Travel demand is essentially zero for the foreseeable future and, even with federal assistance that covers a portion of our payroll expense through September 30, we anticipate spending billions of dollars more than we take in for the next several months, while continuing to employ 100 percent of our workforce," United Airlines wrote in a statement shared with Fox News.

"That’s not sustainable for any company. And that’s why we are doing everything we can to reduce costs in the near-term so we can bounce back quickly when demand starts to return and help ensure our company and the jobs it supports will be here when customers are flying again."