The operator of six restaurants at Piedmont Triad International Airport has warned it could eliminate the jobs of up to 42 furloughed employees on Oct. 15 if business does not rebound by that date.
HMSHost, based in Bethesda, Md., submitted a WARN Act notice Wednesday to the N.C. Commerce Department, which posted the notice on its website Friday.
When HMSHost began providing services in May 2016 as part of a 10-year contract with Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, it planned to have between 65 and 70 employees.
The company filed a similar notice affecting 177 jobs at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. It provides food and beverage services at more than 120 U.S. airports.
HMSHost said it projected that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the airline and hospitality sectors would last from mid-March into the summer.
“To date, we continue to see an unprecedented decline in traffic in airports and on the motorways,” HMSHost said in the notice.
“While we reasonably believed this would be possible” to bring back furloughed employees in the summer, “the unfortunate reality is that it is going to take a significant period for our business to recover.”
“This reality requires HMSHost to make very difficult decisions, one of which is informing our (PTI) associates … who were furloughed on a temporary basis that (it) will be converted to a permanent layoff … if they have not been recalled by Oct. 15.”
A WARN notice is required of employers planning a mass layoff. It provides employees with two months of wages and benefits. It also triggers Commerce officials to begin providing unemployment and job training assistance.
HMSHost said in a statement Friday it has maintained benefits for furloughed employees and “allowed them to use all available paid time off, including vacation, as well as sick and flex time which would not otherwise have been available if they had been laid off.”
Kevin Baker, PTI’s executive director, said Friday he has not been given any indication by HMSHost that the company will stop operating after the cuts.
In the pre-security main terminal area, HMSHost operates PGA TOUR Grill and The Great American Bagel.
On the post-security section, the North Concourse has The Local @ GSO and a Starbucks, while the South Concourse debuted to great fanfare in May 2017 the ACC American Café and a second Starbucks.
The Atlantic Coast Conference-themed restaurant offers a college sports pub atmosphere. HMSHost opened its first ACC American Café at RDU in 2014.
HMSHost’s WARN notice filing comes as American Airlines announced in mid-July plans to begin furloughing employees on Oct. 1 and offer voluntary separation packages — or buyouts — as part of its response to the pandemic.
Airline executives said the furloughs and layoffs will begin when workforce requirements of the federal Paycheck Protection Program end. American received $5.8 billion in cash and loans from the PPP. In exchange, American committed to not conduct major job cuts or layoffs before Oct. 1.
American filed notice that it could eliminate up to 370 jobs at its international reservations center in Winston-Salem, where it has between 600 and 650 employees.
A memo sent to employees in July said 1,000 reservations employees company-wide would be affected by the workforce reduction plan.
The furloughs are expected to be temporary, the company said in its N.C. WARN notice. The company said the number of furloughs could be reduced based on how many employees take voluntary buyouts.
The remaining job cuts could include 9,950 flight attendants; 4,500 in fleet service; 3,200 in maintenance and related services; 2,900 in passenger services; 2,500 pilots; 175 in dispatch; 50 in flight crew training instructors; and 10 flight simulator engineers.