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Some 900 AA Flight Attendants Get a Choice: Get Pushed Out or Jump from the "Voluntary Bridge to Retirement"

Over on the Web site for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American Airlines' flight attendants, comes word today that the airlines is furloughing 900 flight attendants. Not surprisingly, American says the furloughs are necessary "due to the reduction in our fleet" and the recent axing of flights. The furloughs will begin on August 31.

But the APFA says it has reached an agreement with American to allow flight attendants 50 years old and up with more than 15 years on the job the opportunity to take an early out, for which they'll get a severance payment of $15,000, along with medical benefits. That option is referred to as the “Voluntary Bridge to Retirement.” After the jump, the official word from American, courtesy our pal Tim Wagner. --Robert Wilonsky

In May, AMR announced a number of actions designed to help overcome near-term challenges and secure our company's long-term future. This includes a significant reduction in flying capacity and the retirement of a number of airplanes. Employee reductions are expected company-wide comparable with the flight capacity reductions. We recently finalized our fall schedule, which is an important step in determining appropriate staffing levels.

Based on preliminary workforce estimates, this week American issued WARN notices to employees who may experience an involuntary employment loss. A WARN notice is not a layoff notice, but rather a federal requirement and a necessary component -- as we carefully and thoughtfully manager the employee reduction process. Historically, AA has offered many employee groups voluntary options such as leaves-of-absence and stand-in-stead to reduce the impact of any involuntary reductions. We are hopeful that many employee reductions can be achieved through attrition and other voluntary options.

Voluntary Bridge to Retirement

We will also offer a Voluntary Bridge to Retirement (VBR) for many U.S.-based and San Juan employees who are age 50 or over with at least 15 years of service. Each department will decide which job functions and locations will be offered this option.

American has reached agreements with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) and Transport Workers Union (TWU) to offer the VBR to their members.

These are difficult, but necessary changes given the unprecedented challenges we face with overcapacity in the industry, skyrocketing fuel prices, and a worsening U.S. economy. We will work with all affected employees in this transition.

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