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Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid

Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid
© Greg Nash

Southwest Airlines urged the Trump administration and congressional leadership on Monday to extend the relief the airline industry received in March by six months to avoid massive layoffs.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly and industry unions asked for a six-month renewal of the aid “to save jobs, preserve careers, and extend our ability to fight for our People and our airline” in a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpStephen Miller: Trump to further crackdown on illegal immigration if he wins US records 97,000 new COVID-19 cases, shattering daily record Biden leads Trump by 8 points nationally: poll MORE and congressional leadership.

The unions included the Southwest Airline Pilots Association, Transport Workers Union of America AFL-CIO, the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

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The CARES Act, signed into law in late March, included the Payroll Support Program (PSP) for airlines, which meant aid recipients were prohibited from firing or laying off employees until Oct. 1.

“We face continued uncertainty and a forecast that does not point to a significant return in travel demand in the near term. We need your action, now,” they wrote.

Kelly was in Washington last week to meet with White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsDemocrats call Trump's COVID-19 response 'among the worst failures of leadership in American history' Winter COVID-19 wave poses threat to nation's hospitals Critics blast 'two-faced liar' Miles Taylor after revelation as NYT 'anonymous' author MORE. He called the meeting “very good.”

“As the representative of the Employees at Southwest, we respectfully urge you to enact a clean extension of the PSP as soon as possible. As stated in March, we will always put our People first,” they wrote.

The letter follows one on Friday from United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby and airline industry unions and one on Wednesday from American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and airline industry unions, both requesting the same six-month extension.