July 20, 2020 4:00 PM, EDT

United Airlines Eyes Mammoth Bay Area Job Cuts

Company Intends to Lay Off More Than 6,000 Workers
United AirlinesUnited Airlines planes parked at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J., on July 1, 2020. (Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

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United Airlines has issued a formal notice to state officials that the air carrier intends to chop more than 6,000 jobs at San Francisco International Airport, dealing a fresh blow to a Bay Area region attempting to battle the economic effects of the coronavirus.

The air carrier said it intends to lay off 6,573 workers at San Francisco airport, according to a WARN notice filed with the state’s Employment Development Department.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on travel demand and on our business,” Kate Gebo, vice president of human resources and labor relations, wrote in a letter to the EDD.

Kate Gebo, VP of human resources and labor relations


United Airlines had warned in recent days that it might have to lay off 36,000 of its workforce of 96,000 employees after fears and restrictions related to the coronavirus had chased off countless travelers.

The airline placed part of the blame for layoffs on federal, state and local government-ordered shutdowns and mandates.

In California, including the job cuts at San Francisco International Airport, United Airlines intends to lay off 8,400 workers.

The airline’s layoffs in the Bay Area are slated to occur by Oct. 1, the WARN notice revealed.

Even with the United Airlines’ revelations of thousands of layoffs at San Francisco airport, the planned job cuts in the Bay Area for the first half of July are running slightly below the totals for the first half of April, May and June.

During the first two weeks of July, Bay Area employers warned the EDD that they were planning job cuts that totaled slightly more than 13,000 positions.

The WARN notices filed by companies do not provide a complete picture of the Bay Area’s employment situation. The filings give no information about hiring by companies and don’t detail all the job cuts in the region. The WARN notices primarily serve to indicate the pace of job cuts in the area as well as sketch out details of local staffing reductions.

Ominously, United Airlines hinted that some of the job cuts could become permanent — even though the WARN notices for California and San Francisco airport officially list the job cuts as “temporary.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic” United Airlines stated in the WARN notice, “will result in us being a smaller airline.”

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