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American Airlines to cut 30% of management staff

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American Airlines will cut 30 percent of its management and support staff in its latest belt-tightening move during the prolonged COVID-19 downturn, the company disclosed Thursday.

The big US carrier outlined a series of measures to reduce headcount throughout its operations in an email to staff that was released in a securities filing Thursday.

American currently has a team of 17,000 people in management and support, meaning the actions planned will cut about 5,100 jobs.

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The move follows statements from United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and other carriers that have signaled deep job cuts due to sinking air travel demand from coronavirus shutdowns.

The company has established a voluntary departure program for this staff, but “will have to take the difficult step of involuntary separations” if there are not enough volunteers, said Elise Eberwein, executive vice president at American Airlines, in the memo.

Affected staff will remain on payroll through the end of September. As part of a federal bailout under the CARES Act, major US carriers agreed to not undertake involuntary employee layoffs or furloughs through September 30, 2020.

American has already trimmed down somewhat, with almost 39,000 staff members taking voluntary leave or early retirement.

The company also plans to open a new voluntary downsizing program in June for in-flight crews.

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“As we have previously stated, our preferred outcome is to properly size our frontline team for the future without having to implement involuntary furloughs,” Eberwein said.

“This is a goal, though, not a commitment, and a stretch goal at that. We will be working with our unions in the weeks and months ahead in hopes of developing programs to facilitate that goal.”

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COVID-19

In US, political divisions stymie return to lockdowns

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US mayors of Houston and Atlanta are calling for a return to stay-at-home orders to staunch an alarming spike in coronavirus cases, but are being hindered by state governors who favor less restrictive measures.

While new lockdowns have been ordered around the world in cities like Melbourne, Manila and Tangier, such actions are much harder to accomplish in the United States where de-centralized power structures can result in political turf wars.

America is by far the hardest-hit country in the world, with more than 135,000 deaths and 3.3 million cases. Over the summer, the outbreak has shifted its locus to states with predominantly Republican governors.

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Pence claims on coronavirus second wave ‘proved wrong in nearly every way’ less than a month later: analysis

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Vice President Mike Pence's claims about a second wave of coronavirus has been proven completely wrong less than a month later.

The vice president argued in a Wall Street Journal editorial June 16 that no second wave of the deadly pandemic would emerge, but the Washington Post's Philip Bump found only that claim to be accurate -- and only on a technicality.

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Florida official who opposed local mask mandate in ‘critical condition’ with COVID-19

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A public official in Florida who voted against a resolution requiring people wear face masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus is now in critical condition after being infected by the disease.

Local news station News 4 Jax reports that St. Johns County Commissioner Paul Waldron has been hospitalized after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and his daughter posted on Facebook late last week that he went into septic shock and has "many organs struggling."

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