Southwest Airlines, the second-largest carrier operating at Denver International Airport, informed the state Thursday that it would furlough 556 of its Colorado employees unless it can reach agreements with four of its unions on cost-cutting measures or obtain more federal assistance from Congress.
“The involuntary furlough will take place next year unless we reach cost-saving agreements,” Julie Weber, chief people officer at the Dallas-based carriers said in a letter sent to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
The Denver cuts are part of a larger national reduction of 6,800 workers that Southwest announced Thursday. Since taking to the air in 1971, the carrier has never laid off or furloughed workers.
Southwest participated in the Payroll Support Program, which provided $32 billion to the aviation industry under the CARES Act. When that funding expired at the end of September, the company turned to a voluntary separation program, an extended emergency time off program, and pay cuts for managers and non-union employees.
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