AVIATION INDUSTRY

Airline employment drops nearly 29,000

The U.S. passenger and cargo airline industry saw total employment fall by nearly 29,000 workers through the month ending in mid-October as government restrictions on laying off staff expired.

The U.S. Transportation Department said U.S. airlines employed 673,278 workers in mid-October, which was 81,749 fewer than in March when U.S. travel demand started falling dramatically because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The department said that since March, United Airlines had reduced its workforce by 32 percent, or 29,243 employees, while Delta Air Lines eliminated 32 percent of its jobs, affecting 28,751 employees.

In October, American Airlines and United Airlines said they were furloughing more than 32,000 workers after the prior $25 billion payroll assistance program expired on Sept. 30.

The U.S. airline industry is still losing billions of dollars a month as travel demand remains down more than 60 percent.

— Reuters

RETAIL

400 lawmakers join 'Make Amazon Pay'

More than 400 lawmakers from 34 countries signed a letter to Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos backing a campaign that claims the tech giant has “dodged and dismissed . . . debts to workers, societies and the planet,” organizers said.

The “Make Amazon Pay” campaign was launched on Nov. 27 — the annual Black Friday shopping bonanza — by a coalition of more than 50 organizations, with demands including improvements to working conditions and full tax transparency. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The letter’s signatories include U.S. Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), former British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Vice President of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala, co-convenors Progressive International and UNI Global Union said.

“We urge you to act decisively to change your policies and priorities to do right by your workers, their communities, and our planet,” the letter says.

“We stand ready to act in our respective legislatures to support the movement that is growing around the world to Make Amazon Pay.”

Amazon, the world’s biggest retailer, has faced criticism for its tax practices before, including in the United Kingdom and the European Union. It says its profits remain low given retail is a highly competitive, low-margin business, and it invests heavily.

It said that while it accepted scrutiny from policymakers, many of the matters in the letter stemmed from misleading assertions.

“Amazon has a strong track record of supporting our employees, our customers, and our communities, including providing safe working conditions, competitive wages and great benefits,” it said, adding it is “paying billions of dollars in taxes globally.”

— Reuters

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Lighthouse Resources, a coal company with mines in Wyoming and Montana, and White Stallion Energy, a miner that operates in Indiana and Illinois, both filed for bankruptcy after the covid-19 pandemic dropped coal prices. Coal companies have struggled amid an increase in natural gas and renewable energy, and U.S. coal production in the second quarter of this year was the lowest it has been in almost 50 years.

— From news services