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Delta delays furlough decision on more than 1,700 pilots

Delta delays furlough decision on more than 1,700 pilots
Delta has agreed to delay decision on pilot furloughs until Nov. 1 to allow more time to negotiate, the union said Tuesday. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The Delta Air Lines pilots union said Tuesday the airline agreed to delay a furlough decision on more than 1,700 pilots to Nov. 1.

The airline had initially threatened to furlough nearly 2,000 pilots on Oct. 1, the day when federal coronavirus aid that prohibits job cuts expires, but last week the union, representing 14,000 plus pilots, reached a tentative agreement to reduce furloughs to 1,721 pilots. Though the carrier has also discussed other ways to avoid pilot job cuts, such as cutting minimum pay instead.

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Delta Master Executive Council Chairman Ryan Schnitzer wrote in a letter to fellow pilots last week that the company had proposed to delay the Oct. 1 furlough date to allow more time to negotiate.

On Tuesday, the union said that the carrier decided to delay the decision to Nov. 1.

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"This move will provide time as we continue to lobby for a clean extension of the CARES Act and the Payroll Support Program and resume our negotiations with Delta," the union said in a statement.

Most of Delta's tens of thousand of workers won't face job cuts due to voluntary leaves of absence, buyouts and shorter schedules, the airline said last week.

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Earlier this month, United Airlines pilots unions negotiated the beginnings of an agreement to stop planned furloughs of 2,850 pilots by Oct. 1.

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The planned furloughs of pilots were among 16,000 jobs cuts at United Airlines by October due to the drastic drop in air travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic and due to the end of stimulus funds.

American Airlines announced last month that it will cut 19,000 workers in October, including furloughs of thousands of union workers, such as flight attendants, pilots, mechanics and administration and management jobs.

In July, 28% of Southwest Airlines workforce opted for extended leaves of absence or buyouts amid furlough threat.

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