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Tourism, travel industries reach breaking point as airlines lay off workers

It was a tough day for the airline industry Thursday as tens of thousands of workers were furloughed all at once.

“The numbers are over 8,000 flight attendants at American alone and 19,000 total workers that as of today will be out of a job without an extension of the payroll support program,” said Paul Hartshorn Jr., the communications chair at the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

American Airlines and United Airlines collectively took more than 32,000 workers off the payroll after a federal block on job cuts expired and Congress struggled to reach a deal on the coronavirus relief package Wednesday. American Airlines told FOX 13 that its workers in Tampa represent 3% of those furloughed in Florida. The APFA said the job loss has a bigger impact.

“There are many, many industries that depend on a healthy aviation industry system,” said Hartshorn. “I’m talking about the hotel van drivers that receive their healthcare through the hotel and support a family, their jobs are in peril, the hotel front desk workers.”

Thousands of airline furloughs

American Airlines and United Airlines say they will begin to furlough 32,000 employees after lawmakers and the White House failed to agree on a broad pandemic relief package that includes more federal aid for airlines. Jesse Gary reports

Hotel leaders said it’s already been a devastating year for travel, and they hope it doesn’t get any worse.

“If a hotel in a local community closes shop, it’s going to affect high school graduation. It’s going to affect weddings. It’s going to affect parties. It’s going to affect your local community groups that may gather there,” said Chip Rogers, the president and CEO of American Hotel and Lodging Association, who added that hotels need help through the low-traffic winter months. “That’s really all we’re asking for, just to make it to next spring. There are not big, large corporations. In fact, almost two-thirds of hotels are classified as small businesses.”

So airline and hotel representatives are pushing for action and federal aid to get workers on the job.

“If we don’t get this passed and cleared up in the next couple of days, thousands, it could be up to 75,000 aviation workers out of work,” said Hartshorn.

United and American sent FOX 13 statements that went out to employees, saying they are not giving up on reversing the furloughs. As for the hotels, the AHLA said about 1.7 million jobs could be lost by next year if nothing changes.

fox13news.com

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