Thousands of South Florida airline workers hoping to stay employed as PSP expiration looms

MIAMI – As furloughs loom, the fate of thousands of Miami-based airline employees is up in the air.

On a flight from Miami to LaGuardia airport Wednesday morning, a flight attendant made a personal announcement over the intercom.

“To our passengers, it’s been an honor and a privilege to have served you,” she said. “Until then, safe travels. Hope to see you soon.”

Since the pandemic hit, thousands of flight attendants, baggage handlers, gate agents and others have been getting at least partial pay through $25 billion in grants and loans to the nation’s airlines.

To receive the aid, companies agreed not to lay off employees through Sept. 30.

That Payroll Support Program, or PSP, helped many stay employed, and keep health care and other benefits.

The program is set to expire on Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met Wednesday in an 11th-hour attempt to come up with a coronavirus relief plan, but no deal was immediately struck.

“Secretary Mnuchin and I had an extensive conversation and we found areas where we are seeking further clarification. Our conversations will continue,” Pelosi said in a statement.

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