Major airlines are threatening massive layoffs if air travel does not increase soon. United Airlines gave notice to 36,000 employees—nearly half of its US workers—that they may be laid off by October if federal aid expires, Bloomberg reports. Similarly, Southwest Airlines announced that it could cut as many as 20,000 jobs, and that unless air travels triples by the end of the year, some amount of cuts will be necessary. Both airlines are also encouraging their employees to apply for voluntary separation or extended time off to help alleviate the payroll pressure. Southwest additionally suggested pay and benefit cuts may be another option. Given the coronavirus’s current record-setting spread rate in the US, and the effect this will have on domestic air travel, industry job cuts appear inevitable without more federal aid.
A Washington state county ignored shocking claims that a state judge raped and assaulted two court clerks, according to a complaint filed by the clerks. The plaintiffs allege that it took almost three years for the county to take their claims seriously about Judge Scott Gallina, who has allegedly harassed and assaulted multiple employees, and allegedly even raped one of the named plaintiffs. The plaintiffs claim they experienced numerous unwanted sexual, often violent, encounters with Gallina, who would then threaten to fire them when they protested. The women repeatedly filed complaints with county officials but were mostly ignored. To make matters worse, they claim they experienced poor treatment and disbelief from colleagues at the court after action was finally taken against Gallina, eventually culminating in the termination of one of the plaintiffs. Both the county and the judge are named defendants in the federal court lawsuit, and Gallina is the subject of a separate criminal action.
On Friday, two former NFL players filed suit against the NFL, the NFL Players Association, and the league’s medical board for substantially reducing their lifetime disability payments, the New York Times reports. According to the complaint, the league and NFLPA agreed to cut disability payments to over 400 ex-NFL players by as much as $3000 per month as part of the most recent collective bargaining agreement. Additionally, the new CBA includes a provision that requires players looking to qualify for benefits to get approval specifically from NFL disability plan doctors. This is a shift from the previous policy which allowed players approved to receive Social Security disability benefits to automatically qualify for the NFL benefits. In the complaint, the players argue that the NFL illegally altered the contract terms after players had already approved it, and that the player’s union did not give players adequate time to evaluate the contract before putting it to vote—particularly, in light of the coronavirus pandemic. While the NFLPA announced plans to review the CBA provisions two months ago, no progress has yet been shown.
And finally, the AFL-CIO recently announced plans to create a Task Force on Racial Justice. The task force will focus on implementing a series of recommendations recently adopted by the AFL-CIO General Board. One of those recommendations involves encouraging change from within the system of policing through engagement with police unions. This position is likely controversial with some given the current debate about the role of police unions within the labor movement.