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United Airlines warns thousands of workers that their jobs are at risk

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A United Airlines Boeing 737-800 and a United Airlines A320 Airbus approaching San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco.

Louis Ribbon | Reuters

According to United Airlines, the jobs of around 14,000 employees will be at risk if a second round of federal aid expires this spring. This is the latest sign of the industry struggling to regain a foothold in the coronavirus pandemic.

Companies are required by law to notify employees in advance if their jobs are at risk, and this does not mean they will ultimately lose their jobs. United is turning to new voluntary measures to reduce headcount.

United and American Airlines recently began calling back thousands of employees who were on leave when the first round of state payroll ran out in the fall. Congress approved additional aid to industry last year on condition that they recall workers on leave and keep payrolls by March 31. United told employees last year that the callbacks would likely be temporary.

“Despite continued efforts to distribute vaccines, customer demand has not changed significantly since these employees were recalled,” the airline said in an employee report seen Friday by CNBC. “When the callbacks began, United said most of the employees who were recalled would be returning to their previous status due to the fall break around April 1st.”

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Robert Dunfee