American Airlines to layoff 1,414 in Florida

Published On: Sep 18 2012 03:41:19 PM EDT
Updated On: Sep 19 2012 10:31:18 AM EDT

American Airlines is planning to layoff 1,414 employees in Florida as flight cancellations spike with the carrier reducing flights.

MIAMI -

American Airlines is planning to layoff 1,414 employees in Florida.

The airline filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Notice with the state on Tuesday.

The statewide layoffs in transportation and warehousing departments will occur between Nov. 16 and Dec. 16 this year. At least 146 American Eagle employees in Miami are expected to receive notices.

Bruce Hicks, an American Airlines spokesman, issued a statement, saying:

“Through restructuring, American Airlines has worked to lower our costs through sustainable, structural changes. Unfortunately, it was clear from the beginning that this would involve job loss.

“That’s why we made a committed effort through “early out” incentive programs, home-based work options and negotiated solutions with the unions to reduce the number of involuntary reductions. While any job loss is difficult, we now expect the need to furlough only about one-third of our original estimate as a result of these efforts and other progress on our restructuring plans.

“Because some of the incentive programs are still open, and because the business changes will take place over several months, we don’t yet have final furlough numbers. We are issuing WARN notices to the unions and employees who may be affected to comply with state and federal law, but expect the ultimate impact on jobs will be far less than the number of those notified.”

It's unclear how many employees, if any, will be impacted in South Florida.

In total, American Airlines is sending layoff warning notices to more than 11,000 employees although it expects job losses to be closer to 4,400.

The airline said Tuesday that notices went out to mechanics and ground workers whose jobs will be affected as the company goes through a bankruptcy restructuring.

Hicks says that fewer than 40 percent of those getting notices will lose their jobs. He says federal law requires the company to notify anyone whose position could change if they are "bumped" by a more-senior employee whose job is eliminated.

Workforce One Employment Solutions is expected to participate in a conference call with American Airlines and South Florida Workforce on Thursday to offer services in helping the laid off employees find new jobs.

More flight delays, cancellations for America Airlines

The news comes as flight cancellations have spiked while the carrier reduces flights at least partly because of staffing shortages.

Upset passengers were easy to find on Tuesday.

"American delays the flight five hours," said Julio Vilareal.

"They say for technical problems," said Filipo Sesso.

National flight tracking groups confirmed American canceled 90 flights on Sunday, 95 on Monday, at least 22 on Tuesday. About half of the cancellations were blamed on staffing issues and the other half on mechanical issues.

"When all of a sudden you see a lot more people calling in sick or a lot more flights being cancelled for mechanical reasons, you do start to wonder if they are being extra safe or if something else is going on," said Seth Kaplan with Airline Weekly.

Last week, a bankruptcy judge allowed American to void its pilots' union contract. Pilots have been vocal about frustrations and low morale.

"The pilots need to be compensated and motivated appropriately to the industry," said Captain Scott Iovine, a member of the pilot's union.

Experts said the problems could affect American in the short-term.

"People who do say, 'Hey, that's not the most reliable airline anymore. I may book somewhere else.' And certainly in the short-term there could be some damage," said Kaplan.

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