United Airlines loses $1.6 billion, thousands of Houston workers face potential furloughs

HOUSTON – United reported $1.6 billion losses in its second quarter. Roughly, two thousand United workers in Houston received furlough notices after dwindling travel shakes up the airline industries.

“The airline industry — it’s on shaky ground, to say the least at this point,” Mike Klemm, president of IAM District 141 Airline Workers Union, said.

United reported second-quarter losses at a whopping $1.6 billion, which is bad news for major airlines with an equally major workforce nationwide.

“Roughly 10,000 people received furlough notices out of 28,000 we represent,” Klemm said. “That’s a tremendous amount of people to be notified that they might not be working come October 1st, and it’s caused a lot of stress on people.”

Just in Houston, Klemm said they represent 5,000 United workers, whom Klemm said 1,800-2,000 have received furlough notices dated July 17. Klemm anticipates there will be fewer furloughs, though, because many employees have agreed to take cuts or buy out. United is expected to meet with analysts Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. CT.

“It’s probably going to be the worst quarter in United Airlines history,” Klemm said.

The company has already implemented strategies like cutting hours, flights and pushing buyout packages with pay through November. Klemm said the Cares Act will keep families afloat with payroll protection until Sept. 30. IAM District 141 is pushing Congress for an extension and is urging families to contact their representatives.

“Unless we are able to get this extension, people are going to be out of work. People are going to be without medical benefits, which will have people out of coverage which will give people an amount of undue stress on people,” Klemm said.