American Airlines furloughs 900 Charlotte employees, 19,000 company wide

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – American Airlines moved forward notifying thousands of employees that they will be furloughed.

The move comes after funding through the CARES Act payroll support program ran dry.

“It’s just bitter sweet. It’s hard to explain,” said Ingrid Woronin, a Charlotte based American Airlines flight attendant. Woronin is officially on furlough after wrapping up her last flight two days ago.

“We’re protected through the third but they couldn’t give us trips these next two days,” Woronin explained. She’s been up in the air with American Airlines for the last five years.

Her schedule shows she’s furloughed for the foreseeable future.

She is not alone.

“Not everyone is upbeat and optimistic but just pray for our co-workers and our country,” said Darren Austin Pound, a Charlotte based flight attendant with American Airlines.

Pound is passionate about his job flying with American and is optimistic about getting back up in the air.

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“We prepared and flew as much as we could and here we are. We got furloughed,” explained Pound who was furloughed.

Pound thanked the passengers of his final flight from D.C. to Charlotte back on September 24th. After a brief moment of silence, Pound says the passengers started clapping.

“I did my announcement and I got a little emotional,” he recalled.

The emotional roller coaster continues as airlines and unions push for another round of funding.

“This is devastating for them,” said Paul Hartshorn with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. The union represents 27,000 flight attendants across the country.

Airlines and unions are pushing for an additional $25 billion to keep paying workers through March of next year. Despite bi-partisan support, any future funding would be linked to a larger pandemic relief bill.

“We need to get this done today, tomorrow, this weekend. I don’t care but it needs to get done to save jobs,” said Hartshorn.

If a deal on Capitol Hill goes through American Airlines CEO Doug Parker says he will reverse furloughs immediately.

Those furloughed say they will keep pushing in hopes Congress listens.

“We’re going to get through this,” said Pound.

“For now I’m going to try to finish my pilots’ license and I’m hoping when all of this passes I’ll be back in the air,” said Woronin.

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