LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md. (WJZ) — Southwest Airlines sent notices to more than 400 employees nationwide, including more than 100 in Maryland, that they may be involuntarily furloughed starting early next year.

A spokesperson for the airline said it sent Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications to 403 employees, saying the company and representatives of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association have not come to an agreement to reduce costs “to help offset our overstaffed situation in the current travel environment.”  Another 1,503 employees could be impacted following the furloughs “by seniority processes to fill other bid positions.”

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Notices filed with the Maryland Department of Labor earlier this week show 106 Southwest employees in the state were sent WARN notices, though the airline did not release city-specific impacts.


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A number of other workgroups have agreed to reductions to avoid furloughs for 2021, the spokesperson said in an email.

The furloughs would take effect on January 25, 2021, or within the following two weeks, unless the company “reaches cost-saving agreements” or federal lawmakers extend the Payroll Support Program.

Under the CARES Act passed earlier this year, lawmakers approved up to $25 billion in payroll support for passenger airline carriers. Data from the treasury department shows Southwest is expected to get a total of $3,353,526,454 in payroll support through the program, the fourth-largest amount of any passenger airline.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

CBS Baltimore Staff