|Ren Benavidez |||Sep 16, 2014 10:26 AM EDT|
(Photo : REUTERS)
United Airlines announced on Monday that it will be offering US$100,000 in voluntary buyout packages to qualified flight attendants, in hopes of cutting its staffing budget.
The airline aims to cut the ranks of its 23,000 flight attendants by 2,000 with the buyout deal, due to its struggle with union contracts following the 2010 merger with Continental Airlines.
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United Airlines also announced on Monday that it will recall some 1,450 flight attendants who were laid off so they either return to work or also apply for the separation payment.
According to airline officials, the plan is to offer the buyout to senior flight attendants, while the new and less experienced ones will be allowed to return to work.
In a statement released by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the buyout package to "end furloughs and other staffing issues" was reached outside of contract negotiations.
The association also commended the United Airlines for its severance package, saying that it was "high-paying and unprecedented in the airline industry."
According to United Airlines executive vice president Mike Bonds, of the company's human resources and labor relations department, the decision to reinstate laid-off flight attendants and organizing the airline staff will help create a beneficial bargaining agreement with the AFA.
Bonds added that the move will help further improve United's relationship with AFA.
Airline Industry analyst George Hamlin said the buyout deal is expected to cut the airline's budget if it will rehire less experienced attendants who have a lower pay grade.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual income of flight attendants are approximately US$74,000, but senior flight attendants can earn much more with bonuses and overtime pays.
The announcement of the severance payment package came out after the New York Trading closed on Monday and revealed that the stock of United Airlines dipped nearly 1.7 percent to US$49.56 per share.
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