Trump could act unilaterally to avoid US airline layoffs, White House says

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WASHINGTON / CHICAGO (Reuters) – President Donald Trump is evaluating management action to avoid mass layoffs at U.S. airlines if Congress fails to agree to a new coronavirus stimulus package, the chief executive said on Wednesday White House cabinet, Mark Meadows.

US President Donald Trump speaks during the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention broadcast from Washington, United States, August 25, 2020. 2020 Republican National Convention / Document via REUTERS

His remarks come a day after American Airlines (AAL.O) said its workforce will shrink by 40,000 people, including 19,000 unintentional cuts, in October without an extension of government assistance as the pandemic continues to devastate demand for travel.

“If Congress doesn’t work, this president is going to get to work and solve some problems. So I hope we can help the airlines and prevent some of these employees from being fired, ”Meadows said in an interview with Politico.

He suggested, however, that the assistance would require legislative action, saying, “It would take a CARES package, I believe, to do that,” referring to the $ 3 trillion coronavirus relief package that Congress passed. earlier this year.

Airlines shares were weaker at the start of .DJUSAR trading.

U.S. airlines received $ 25 billion in wage assistance under the CARES Act to protect jobs through October and the industry has been pushing for an additional $ 25 billion to keep workers employed until October. March, as they hope demand for travel will be stronger.

Meadows said he spoke with U.S. officials, as well as United Airlines (UAL.O) et Delta Air Lines (OF NO).

“We will continue to work with the administration and our bipartisan supporters in Congress and hope to reach a resolution in due course,” American said in a statement.

United has warned that 36,000 jobs are at risk. Delta said Monday it would lay off 1,941 pilots, but did not detail the cuts in other employee groups.

“Executive orders will not save our jobs,” Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, told union members at 19 airlines, including United.

“It will definitely take Congress to act to keep all the job requirements in place,” she said on Twitter, adding, “It’s good to see WH wants to resume discussions. ”

Talks between Meadows, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer ended in early August, with the Main Democrats and the administration far apart over new legislation.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to spread and wreak havoc in our industry, and demand for air travel has not returned as expected,” the main industry lobby A4A said in a statement, stressing a tough fall as airlines prepare to cut jobs and service without further help.

Reporting by David Morgan and Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell

Our standards:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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