United Airlines Join Unions in Call to Extend Federal Aid, Urge Restart of Second Stimulus Negotiations

United Airlines has joined in the calls from industry unions, asking the government to extend federal aid and restart negotiations for a second stimulus bill. According to Fox Business, the company signed its name on a joint letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking him to resume "critical negotiations of COVID-19 legislation." The unions and airlines who sent the letter have asked that the next bill include funding for a six-month extension to the Payroll Support Program.

"Without additional funding for the PSP grants, up to 16,000 members of the United family are at risk of involuntary furloughs beginning October 1st," wrote United CEO Scott Kirby. "Continuation of this critical program would prevent the furloughs and provide additional time for the industry to reach recovery without losing our colleagues to involuntary furloughs." Kirby went on to say, "We recognize the severe impact the virus is having on our entire economy and the need for support touches many other individuals, organizations and programs. Assistance now can help to lessen the long-term impact to the economy and ultimately speed recovery. The sooner Congress and the Administration can come together again and reach an agreement, the better United and the entire industry’s chances of keeping employees and returning the economic benefits we provide for the larger economy."

Notably, United is not the first airline to partner with its unions for a joint letter to Mnuchin, as American Airlines did the same thing earlier this month, also asking him to extend the Payroll Support Program. "The dire circumstances we face now — massive furloughs and reductions in air service — are exactly the circumstances the PSP was designed to guard against, which explains why a six-month extension of the program enjoys overwhelming support from a broad coalition of Republicans and Democrats in both chambers." The company added, "We are acutely aware that the airline industry isn’t alone in its suffering from the extended impact of this pandemic, and that is exactly why we’re writing to you today."

"It’s not just our team members who are counting
on our nation’s leaders to lead, but tens of thousands of workers, families and businesses across the country," American also wrote. "Our conversations with each of you suggest a deal is within reach, and there is no time to waste." At this time, there is no word on when the stimulus bill negotiations may resume.