Southwest Airlines calls for pay cuts to avoid layoffs, furloughs

Southwest Airlines has asked its unionized workers to take pay cuts in an effort to stave off layoffs and furloughs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly made the request in a Monday message to employees after rival carriers American and United started furloughing more than 32,000 workers last week following the expiration of a $25 billion federal bailout meant to save airline jobs.

Dallas-based Southwest needs to cut costs further to avoid sidelining staff absent another round of aid from Congress, Kelly said. The company plans to slash non-union employees’ salaries by 10 percent through all of next year and negotiate with its labor unions for similar concessions, he said.