American Cuts 3,100 Flight Attendants
DALLAS (AP) _ American Airlines began laying off more than 3,100 flight attendants on Tuesday, after a federal judge turned aside a union official’s bid to block the job losses.
More than half the workers who lost their jobs Tuesday had worked for Trans World Airlines before American parent AMR Corp. bought TWA out of bankruptcy in 2001.
In St. Louis, TWA’s longtime home, and other bases around the country, flight attendants finishing their last day of work turned in uniforms, identification badges and keys.
In e-mails, workers facing unemployment said they fear losing their homes and wonder how to pay for health care. A few said they were facing bankruptcy. Others will manage, they said, but miss their work.
Chris Bailey was nearing his third anniversary on the job. His last flight was Sunday, from Vancouver, British Columbia, back home to Dallas.
``The way home was kind of somber. I kind of feel let down by the company, but seniority matters,″ said Bailey, 23, who plans to collect unemployment while job-hunting.
Most of those laid off Tuesday will get final paychecks by July 15.
``Of course it’s a difficult day, but we understand these furloughs are needed to keep American Airlines on the path back to profitability,″ said company spokeswoman Julia Bishop Cross.
American said service would not affected by the layoffs. About 900 flight attendants were being transferred to St. Louis beginning Wednesday to replace the laid-off TWA workers.
The layoffs, which were to be completed early Wednesday, were sealed in May when American and its employees agreed to $1.8 billion in annual labor cost reductions to keep the company out of bankruptcy.
The former TWA flight attendants, led by a union board member, went to federal court in New York to block the layoffs, but Judge Carol Bagley Amon on Monday rejected their request for an injunction.
Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR, which has lost more than $6 billion since the beginning of 2001, has cut 6,000 flight attendant jobs since October 2001.
On the Net:
AMR site: www.amrcorp.com
American’s flight attendants: www.apfa.org