DALLAS Continental Airlines Inc., which is shedding 3,000 jobs in a cost-cutting move, is offering employees a year's worth of health insurance and travel perks if they leave on their own.
The pilots' union is pushing for job-sharing and other measures that would reduce the need for layoffs, a union official said Friday.
Continental announced this month it would cut about 6.5 percent of its work force and reduce capacity as it tries to deal with skyrocketing fuel prices. The Houston-based company lost $80 million in the first quarter.
"We are offering all of our work groups voluntary plans to reduce the number of involuntary furloughs and terminations that will be required due to capacity cuts," said Continental spokeswoman Mary Clark.
Continental has made an umbrella offer to all labor groups that includes the health benefits and free travel privileges for employees and their families until 2023.
Mark Adams, a spokesman for the pilots, said Friday that there was no cash component to the offers, which have a reply deadline in late July.
Adams said pilots are negotiating a separate deal that could include leaves of absence or voluntary reductions in flying for pilots.
The reduced flying would work like job-sharing. Instead of one pilot flying 80 hours a month, two could work 40 hours each, Adams said. The company's salary expenditure on the two pilots would be cut in half, although the cost of benefits for both would not be reduced.
"We're trying to save the company money and save pilots' jobs," Adams said. "Our goal is not to have a a single pilot lose his job, but obviously there are going to be staffing reductions."
Continental has not said how the 3,000 job cuts will be divided among pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and other employees. Adams said the company hasn't said how many pilots it wants to shed it has about 5,000 out of a work force of about 45,000.
Continental announced the job reductions on June 5 and said it would cut capacity 11 percent beginning in September and retire 67 airplanes by the end of 2009. Last week, it said it would eliminate service to 15 cities around the world and reduce operations at its three hubs, with the deepest cuts in Cleveland.