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April 11, 2003
Some Reservists Face Uncertain Job Future
As airlines continue to struggle financially and move to slash more jobs, some activated reservists could come back from abroad to find that they no longer have their civilian jobs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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While federal law protects reservists' jobs while they are on active duty, the law does not provide protection in the event of a planned reduction in force, the newspaper notes.

American Airlines has 475 pilots who are serving in active duty. The company is negotiating with unions to furlough 2,500 pilots to help it avoid bankruptcy. The newspaper reports 150 of the reservists could lose their jobs based on their seniority.

"It's the ultimate irony for those individuals to answer the nation's call to war and then come back and find out there's (no job) waiting for them," says John Mazor, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association.

American Airlines also has another 225 employees who are serving in active duty. Their positions may also be vulnerable to layoffs, the newspaper reports.

Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines have employees who the government has activated to their military units. Both airlines plan to make cuts in their workforce, according to the Chronicle.

The newspaper notes that the war that took the reservists away from their jobs is also contributing to the airlines' latest financial troubles. Airlines have reported a 40 percent decline in bookings, which they attribute to customers' fear of flying during wartime.

"After putting yourself in harm's way, running the risk of paying the ultimate sacrifice, to have an employer say, 'Sorry, you don't have a job,' that's a sad situation," says Lt. Col. Michael Lovitt, a spokesman for the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve in Arlington, Va.


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