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American Airlines Workers Prepare For Possible Layoffs

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campaign 2012 new2 American Airlines Workers Prepare For Possible Layoffs

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – American Airlines employees are hoping for the best 24 hours after the company sent out more than 11,000 layoff warning notices, including more than 1,500 in Florida.

Passengers were not pleased with the announcement, especially in light of the rapid increase in fees for airline flight.

“They started going up on ticket prices, bags and what have you so they should be able to find the money to keep people employed,” passenger Felix Murray told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.

The company filed notice with the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity about the possibility of the layoffs on Monday and were officially posted by the state on its WARN website on Tuesday. The layoff notices came from American Airlines managing director for diversity strategies and talent development, Michael J. Waldron.

Still, the company said that the real number of job losses will be around 4,400 when everything is finished.

Waldron outlined the need to possibly cut about 1414 jobs, mainly at its Miami International Airport Operations. Waldron noted the possible reductions coming from:

  • 668 Fleet Services Clerk, Crew Chiefs
  • 174 Plant Maintenance
  • 323 Mechanics
  • 36 Stock Clerks
  • 102 Airport Agents
  • 21 Operational Coordinators
  • 34 Passenger Service Representatives
  • 9 Management Support Staff

Ft. Lauderdale’s possible job cuts at American Airlines include:

  • 1 Plant Maintenance
  • 7 Airport Agents
  • 39 Fleet Service/Crew Chiefs

Passenger Scarlet Gonzalez is worried the cuts could mean even longer lines at the airport.

“It’s gonna be a slower attention for us,” Gonzalez told CBS4. “It’s gonna take you twice as long to get to where you need to be.”

The possible “furloughs” are slated to begin by the middle of November and end in mid-December, according to the so-called “Worker Adjustment and Re-Training Notification Notices” which are required by Federal Law.

But American Airlines insists the actual number of possible job cuts may be much less, according to company spokesman Bruce Hicks who added in a statement released to CBS4 News Tuesday afternoon that read in part:

“This is a matter of law. The numbers may not be the actual numbers but, we need to include anyone that could possibly be affected. 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. 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.”

Unions have been in negotiations with the airline since it filed for bankruptcy protection. The president of the fleet workers union says about 600 of members received notices, but he expects the final number of layoffs to be much lower due in part to incentives to leave early. Sidney Jimenez said, “Even if it’s one it’s too much but we’re hoping we’re anticipating it’s in the dozens instead of the hundreds.”

American employs about 9000 workers in South Florida and the hub at Miami International Airport is believed to be the 2nd largest for the company nationwide. American Airlines recently expanded its facilities at Miami International and plans on adding several new flights to Latin America over the next few weeks.

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