A “last clock” video posted on Tuesday to TikTok and Facebook by a United Airlines Customer Service Agent is drawing attention to the thousands of airline employees who are losing their jobs due to congressional inaction. 

Vange Arizala, a member of IAM Local 2239G, is one of 30 agents at United in Guam who are being furloughed due to the pandemic-related collapse in air traffic. The airline plans to furlough about 16,000 employees like Vange this week, after an extension of the Payroll Support Program for airlines failed to materialize. Across the industry, over 200,000 airline employees and related workers are expecting to become jobless. 

On her last day at work, Vange filmed her final trip to the timeclock and her final look at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM) in Guam. The mood is both optimistic and heartbreaking.

“I’m going to miss this work, and I’m going to miss you guys,” Vange tells coworkers in the post as she records her final walk through the breakroom. With the United Airlines’ theme song “Rhapsody in Blue” playing in the background, she tells friends that the situation is only temporary. “I’ll be back,” she says confidently.

Finding herself working with only one other employee, Vange suggested capturing the moment on video. “After everyone went up to (UA flight) 200, Joel & I were the only ones left at the counter,” she said. “I told him, ‘let’s do a mini photoshoot!’ I was happy to see Mike & Luisa walk in so we had more people to take pictures with. It was like a skeleton crew this morning!”

The “last clock” video posted on Tuesday to TikTok and Facebook by a United Airlines Customer Service Agent is drawing attention to the thousands of airline employees who are losing their jobs due to congressional inaction. 

Vange Arizala, a member of IAM Local 2239G, is one of 30 agents at United in Guam who are being furloughed due to the pandemic-related collapse in air traffic. The airline plans to furlough about 16,000 employees like Vange this week, after an extension of the Payroll Support Program for airlines failed to materialize. Across the industry, over 200,000 airline employees and related workers are expecting to become jobless. 

On her last day at work, Vange filmed her final trip to the timeclock and her final look at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM) in Guam. The mood is both optimistic and heartbreaking.

“I’m going to miss this work, and I’m going to miss you guys,” Vange tells coworkers in the post as she records her final walk through the breakroom. With the United Airlines’ theme song “Rhapsody in Blue” playing in the background, she tells friends that the situation is only temporary. “I’ll be back,” she says confidently.

Finding herself working with only one other employee, Vange suggested capturing the moment on video. “After everyone went up to (UA flight) 200, Joel & I were the only ones left at the counter,” she said. “I told him, ‘let’s do a mini photoshoot!’ I was happy to see Mike & Luisa walk in so we had more people to ta

Friends were quick to flood her comments with warm thoughts and fond expressions of friendship. “Vangie… what a graceful exit!” said Carol Salgado of Hagatna. 

Efforts by airline workers to avoid historic job losses in commercial aviation have been nothing short of heroic. Union members have sent over 90,000 messages to lawmakers, winning the support of both parties and the president for an extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP). The program was part of the CARES Act which paid labor costs for airlines while forbidding them from conducting layoffs. Early retirements, union-negotiated buyout offers, and partial pay programs have cut the number of involuntary furloughs by thousands. A new COVID relief package including the PSP is still being negotiated by House Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and has yet to be formally introduced.   

Vange Arizala (on right) in a pre-pandemic pose with friends at work.

Earlier in the day, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told a CNN interviewer that he would consider postponing layoffs for a few days if Congress could ensure that a job package would happen soon. The current PSP expires at midnight on September 30, which triggered the furloughs. 

When asked about the decision to share her touching farewell message, Vange said that building community was important at this moment. “So many of us are going through this,” she said. “It may help to know that we are going through it together.” 

 

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