United to reduce work hours for 15,000 employees after receiving $5 billion in CARES Act relief funds

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United Airlines plans to cut the hours of 15,000 airport workers reducing them to part time employees in the face of a dramatic decline in demand for flight service amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chicago Tribune reports that full-time baggage handlers, customer service agents and reservations agents will have their hours cut from 40 hours to 30 hours a week starting May 24.

Greg Hart, United’s executive vice president and chief operations officer sent a letter to all of United’s employees on Friday, May 1st.

It’s not known how many United employee on Guam will be affected. In a statement United said it “will not provide a breakdown by location.”

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers issued a statement calling the action “cruel and selfish” and “quite possibly illegal. ”

United has received $5 billion in financial assistance under the CARES Act to keep workers on the payroll.

IAMAW District 141 president Michael Klemm said the union believes the airline’s move violates terms of its agreement with the federal government.