American Airlines moves ahead with worker recalls even as Trump balks at aid deal

FILE PHOTO: American Airlines planes are parked at the gate during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, U.S., April 5, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

CHICAGO (Reuters) -American Airlines said on Wednesday it is moving forward with plans to bring back furloughed workers and give them paychecks by Dec. 24, even after President Donald Trump threatened to veto a coronavirus relief bill.

Trump’s threat on Tuesday to veto the $892 billion coronavirus relief bill approved by Congress this week, which includes $15 billion for airlines to bring back furloughed workers and pay them through March, left millions of Americans in limbo.

“While this is an unexpected development, we are moving forward with recall plans and furloughed team members will receive funds in their accounts on Christmas Eve as planned,” a spokeswoman for American said.

Nearly 8,000 American Airlines flight attendants have already received recall letters, the company said, and similar letters are going out in phases to other employees across the company.

The letters, sent by email and FedEx, ask flight attendants to either accept the recall or resign by Jan. 4.

By Tuesday afternoon, around half had already accepted, and only one had resigned, one person with knowledge of the matter said.

American furloughed nearly 19,000 employees after a first federal payroll support package for airlines expired in October.

United Airlines, which furloughed around 13,000 of its employees, has also pledged to recall them if Washington approves fresh aid.

It did not reply to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Reporting by Tracy RucinskiEditing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell