United Airlines sending 'gut punch' furlough warnings to 36,000 workers

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United AirlinesUnited Airlines (UAL.O) said on Wednesday it was preparing to send notices of potential furloughs to 36,000 U.S.-based frontline employees, or about 45% of staff, as travel demand hit by the coronavirus pandemic struggles to recover.

Not everyone who receives a notification will be furloughed, United said, with the final number depending on how demand evolves and how many employees accept early exit packages and temporary leaves.

The furloughs would begin on Oct. 1, when a government-imposed ban on forced job cuts by airlines that accepted billions of dollars in federal payroll aid expires.

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