June 17th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Would you work without pay for a month to save your job?


A British Airways passenger jet comes into land at London’s Heathrow Airport. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Cardy/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

British Airways is asking thousands of its employees to work for free for up to a month.

Because of financial problems, the airline has e-mailed workers offering them between one and four weeks of unpaid leave - but with the option to work during this time.

Last month, the company showed a record annual loss of more than $650 million. As the global recession drags on, the airline is seeing demand for passenger seats and cargo space fall... while ever higher oil prices translate to more and more expensive jet fuel.

The CEO of British Airways recently said there were "absolutely no signs of recovery" in the airline industry - calling it "by far the biggest crisis" they've ever faced. He says he's agreed not to take a salary for the month of July.

But, one of Britain's biggest unions says employees can't afford to work for free for a month; they say while the company's CEO might be able to do that, ordinary workers can't.

British Airways - which employs more than 40,000 people in the UK - says the voluntary pay cut would be spread over several months. They say more than 1,000 people have signed up for their work-for-no-pay plan so far.

Here’s my question to you: Would you be willing to work without pay for a month in order to try to save your job?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Sean writes:
No, I wouldn't. The point of working is to make money to live on. Why do I have this nagging feeling that if they weren't being paid, there would be few workers?

Ed writes:
I worked for a company that hit tough times. We all took a 10% pay cut to try and save cash and the company. Entrepreneurial types understand this; government employees and big company workers don't. By the way, the company failed. That's the risk you take.

Chuck writes:
Sort of defeats the whole purpose of working, doesn't it? Also sets a bad precedent, since it's tantamount to slavery.

Andrew writes:
Jack, If I had to give up one month’s pay to save my job, I'd do it in a minute. Times are very difficult, anything to feed the family.

Jeremy from Orlando writes:
Jack, I did just that September last year. By November, the company I worked for went under and I haven't had steady work since. If your employer can't pay you for a month, it's time to find another job.

Barbara writes:
Loyalty from corporations are nil to none. It is not uncommon to be given a pink slip while away on vacation. No, I would not work for free on only a possibility of having a job. The company would need to guarantee in writing that I will be gainfully employed.

Lee from Pennsville, New Jersey writes:
That'll be next. My employer is already saying, "Just be glad you have a job." Why do I suspect this is a precursor for the necessity to work a month without pay?

Molly writes:
Yes, if the mortgage, the utilities and the grocery store bills are waived for that month!

Filed under: Unemployment / Economy
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    Of course I would but that is easier said than done. What guarantees would I have that it would save my job after all? People on lower incomes would find that next to impossible to keep food on the table, pay their utilities and mortgages. It would be hard to stay at work when one's family is not doing well.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  2. Karen - Missouri

    Of course NOT. Workers are not slaves. The companies are buying our skills. If they can't afford to buy our expertise...then too bad. Would YOU or Wolfe work for CNN for free as if your expertise wasn't worth anything? Would you write a book and sell it for free because the publisher couldn't afford you? It's time to stop treating employees like disposable slaves. EVERYONE'S time and expertise is worth money!

    June 17, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  3. HD in Phoenix, AZ

    Sounds like another one of those things people do out of desperation to keep their nose above the water line. I'm not sure what I would do as I got laid off of my job 2 years ago and things have only gotten worse. I'm at my wits end thanks to 8 years of Bush / Cheney / GOP elitist policies that waged war against the middle class of this country and favored their rich wealthy handlers and keepers who put them in office.

    HD in Phoenix, AZ

    June 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  4. Darren

    I was furloughed for a month during a government freeze on salaries, during negotiations, and worked a month without income, which the thankfully they reimbursed after the budget was worked out. One thing about the government, they take care of their own.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  5. David A Whitaker

    Jack I believe in during my share in helping the economic. These people has bills, what will they do during this whole month of no payment. Most people is one to two paycheck from being homeless, and Jack I have being homeless it not a nice place to be.

    Martinsburg, WV

    June 17, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  6. Heidi

    I'm in Anchorage Alaska. Everything costs quite a lot up here in comparison to most other states besides California, and Hawaii. People actually order food from out of state to be delivered sometimes just because its cheaper than going to the store. NO, I would not work for no pay. Seems to me Brit. Air needs to give its executives a pay cut. If the executives will go three months without pay, I might consider one.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  7. Terry in Virginia

    Years ago, when I worked for a small firm, the managing partner told us they didn't have enough money to meet payroll that month. We were asked to keep working and that eventually they'd make it up. The next day the partners bought plane tickets for the Bahamas for a golfing vacation and had paid themselves thousands of dollars. Needless to say after the bookkeeper called the Employment Commission, the golf trip was cancelled and the employees were paid. So, it depends upon how much an employee can trust his employer.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  8. Linda in Arizona

    I would if I had enough money saved to get through that month, which, I would hope, most employees do. It does set a precedent though for making workers work for nothing to keep their jobs. It's a very different thing for a CEO to skip a month's salary than for ordinary workers to do the same. It should be voluntary for the workers, but of course they will know the result of not complying could be permanent loss of their jobs, so the element of coercion will remain.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  9. Billy in Las Vegas

    I'm a retired US Airways pilot. ALL of the employees of my company could have worked for FREE and it STILL would have lost money because our wasteful management didn't have a CLUE on how to run an airline in the age of deregulation.

    I suspect it's the same at British Airways and many other so called "legacy" airlines. reference Eastern and Pan Am.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  10. John

    No.I can't pay the mortgage working for free.
    Besides, I would be afraid to fly British Airways after some disgruntled employees performed maintenance on the aircraft.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  11. Kim - Blair, NE

    Already have had hours cut back to 7 a day. Don't like it & it isn't easy but thankful that I have a job at all. I might be willing to take a month but I don't think I would have a house if I did.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  12. Pablo in Tejas

    would my landlord not accept my rent? the utility company forgive my bill? My local grocer not charge me at the checkout.
    What are you, kidding me?

    Arlington Texas

    June 17, 2009 at 4:37 pm |

    Yes I would,
    but I would also demand from the executives that they pool their money together to pay back the people who made the sacrifice and kept the airline aloft.
    I'll guess the loss for the typical worker is about $3000.00.
    Multiply that by $40,000 workers, that comes to a $120,000,000 sacrifice.
    Divide that by one hundred twenty top paid executives, thats only a million dollars apiece. I can't think of a better time for the executives to show their gratitude to their loyal and trustworthy employees than at Christmas. Far fetched isn't Jack. The rich never lose.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  14. stef in minneapolis

    Only if my student loans went into a grace period, my landlord said "no problem," and I somehow didn't have to eat for 30 days.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:41 pm |

    BAIL OUT! BAIL OUT! BAIL OUT! This is all I here on the news. Big corporations are sinking like the Titanic.
    I'm moving to another planet.
    Jack, you can have my bucket, I'm tired of bailing a sinking ship.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  16. Dea in Fayetteville NC

    I would work one or two days a month without pay if I had a guarentee that my sacrifice would be rewarded once the company has recovered, if the execs did the same thing, and if the hourly workers get bonus's before the execs do.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  17. Trueman, Toronto, Ontario

    Hi Jack,
    These employees have the option to take a month unpaid leave, which is really no different than what Chrysler workers are doing right now. I wonder if they can collect unemployment while still, technically, working?

    June 17, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  18. Richard Knigin

    No work no pay. Now, no pay and maybe your work will be saved (no guarantees). Certainly there are alternative methods to protect jobs such as stimulating this economy; isn't that what the bailout is supposed to accomplish? Richard Miami, FL.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  19. Frank from Connellsville, PA

    Jack, I wish I could get it down to "just" a month! When you own a small business you get what's left and right it ain't much at all.

    June 17, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  20. Denise

    Maybe. If I were single. It would not be a problem. I would use the free time to travel, read, have fun. With a family, no. My people with families cannot afford to.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  21. Antonio from Chicago

    Good one Jack! Sure I'll waive my salary for an entire month while my boss (the CEO) has been making millions over the last few years and has driven the company right into the ground...

    June 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  22. jim Toronto

    There are alot of employers who will take advantage of such an offer. Cutting wages and pocketing the money for themselves. Saying and crying the blues to their emplyees about their business, that it is suffering and that jobs will be lost unless, all...collectively join together to 'save the company' by taking pay cuts or deferring wages for a time. There is no real winner in this, unless it is a legitimate claim.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  23. Jay, Denver

    No chance. My company wouldn't think twice about laying me off if they needed to and so I'm as loyal to my company as my company is to me.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  24. drsnurse

    Will the banks be willing to forgive your mortgage for a month, will the store give you food for a month, will the electric company keep your lights on for a month? These overpaid, multi-millionaire CEO's are so out of touch, they think a month without pay means skimping on the caviar and champagne and maybe delaying buying their next personal jetplane. After a month without paying employees, what will the CEO bonuses be?

    June 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  25. orion

    Oh yes jack,i will if they gonna give me my money back later.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  26. Nan,

    I don't know many who could go without one months pay. What's the chances that after the one month no pay, the employees will still have jobs? If the airline is in such a bad way they can't promise anything to the workers. Perhaps a compromise of working 1/2 the month and only being paid for the time you work. That way, the airline can still run and the workers have some money to live on.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  27. michael armstrong sr.

    michael armstrong sherman tx. shoot jack that sounds fine for a rich person who has enough food to eat or pay there utility bills how about the utility companys not being paid for a month the ansewr is no

    June 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |

    Probably, especially if they would scatter it out. It is better to have a por job, than no job at all. Well, maybe if it isn't too poor, you can't make it on minumin wage.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  29. Lou

    I own a small retail business that is struggling in this economy. I'm already working without pay.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  30. Roland-St George, UT

    That seems ridiculous to me. Unpaid leave is one thing, then at least people can do something else productive with the time. Or, why not rework the schedule so that people work one day less per week and take a 20% pay cut. I worked for a company that did exactly that during the last recession and several people volunteered to do it (mainly those who were the second income earners in their families). Once they adjusted financially, they were to have the extra time off and it helped the company save lots of money and get by during the difficult time, which lasted about a year and a half. Some even continued their reduced schedule/payscale indefinitely. (Roland/St George, UT)

    June 17, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  31. Dan - Eustis, florida

    Lets see the rich old geezer that owns the company is filthy rich, the
    C.E.O gets paid an obscene salary and the board of directors are all
    filthy rich and I am going to work for free to save my job. Not on your
    life, the object of work is to earn a living not to make charitable
    contributions to a bunch of rich fat cats. I'll consider working for free
    when our Politicians stop cheating on their wives and making blubb-
    ering, apologies on TV or when cows fly. Which ever happens first.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  32. Jon Auer

    I have already been told no raises in the forseeable future at all for any City worker in Nashville, and no longevity bonus at the end of the year. So sure, why not, at least the job will still be there for the time being.

    If I must choose keeping my current wage vs zero income its a no brainer. I have to have income to live, and I have already lost buying power and money position anyway. A little more on my back is expected in this day and time. It seems to be a norm, when business mnagement has no answers.

    And they usualy never do !

    Jon in Nashville

    June 17, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  33. Scott Stodden

    Sadly Jack I would have to say no I would not work for free for anybody unless Im for sure getting something out of working for free. This is a tragedy for British Airways to even ask employees to work for free, I agree maybe the CEO can afford to work for free but ordinary workers with kids and families cannot afford this.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, IL)

    June 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  34. Jasmine in Germany

    Absolutely, yes! Desperate times call for desperate measures. It's not just a matter of saving your job, it is also a matter of saving your company. The company can reward you later for your loyalty. This is also an opportunity for those people who cheat their employers (using the phone for personal business, e-mailing and e-baying on company time, etc.) to reimburse their company.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  35. Jerry

    Working without pay, who can afford to do that now adays. I've worked hard all my life and now I have little to show for it. Stocks in the toilet, fuel prices rising, cost of food going up. If I miss one paycheck I can't survive now.

    If the CEO can make 6 figures or more a year, maybe he/she can go without pay for a month, but most workers can't. NO! I wouldn't try it.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  36. boxer girl in iowa

    Get real, I mean really. Of coarse the CEO can go a month with no income but most people can't. First it's work for free, then what. Horseback. I'm sorry but unions are worthless and good for nothing.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  37. Bob Northern IL

    Yes, if I thought management was good and the shortage of money was not due to bad management decisions.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  38. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    No, but I volunteer Congress for this.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  39. Wendy from Atlanta

    I would if it saved me six months to a year employment and the creditors, insurance and utility companies, and such would take that month that I have no income and extend that months charges over the subsequent six months so I could pay back what I owe when wages resumed and also pay for gas to get so work, and food to feed my family for that month I work for no pay.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  40. Peter M

    No. I have to eat, bills to pay, rent and all. Why would I work for free?

    June 17, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  41. Nancy, Tennessee

    No and the people that have signed up to work for no pay for a month think that it will save their job if there are cuts. These airlines will not look at who sacrificed when they start their list of cuts. It's sad, but true. These workers should take their pay and try to save up for the rainy days that are probably on the horizon.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  42. Ann from Charleston, S.C.

    I remember my parents telling about people who worked without pay during the depression. I think most people will do whatever it takes to solve a problem. The greedy ones would have a problem with that I suppose. There are some who are barely making it with the salary and would go under without the month’s pay.

    I am retired, but I’m thinking I would have worked without pay for a month in order to save my job. I was a teacher and for most of the 34 years I loved working with my students. I did have one principal who was a total nightmare and for whom I would not work for a salary of any amount, let alone for free.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  43. Joe (Miami Beach)

    Yes – it's better than being out of job for 7 months... like me.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  44. Paul

    We already work for free it seems. With taxes the way they are, we'll all be unemployed and out of work really soon.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  45. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    No because most of the greedy business owners in the United States would just want you to work another month for free once you had completed the first month.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  46. Wilhelmina

    Being a high school teacher with 180 students, six classes a day, four different subjects to prepare, Senior and Beta sponsor – I feel like I ALREADY work for no pay – if it were not for my joy in teaching and feeling like it is my "calling", I would have left long ago. I have only survived by keeping my eyes on my students.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  47. Stephanie

    Despite economic hardship that most companies face, asking the employee to work without pay represents the greatest form of exploitation. I want a day's pay for a day's work.

    Miami, FL

    June 17, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  48. Deborah in Blue Springs MO

    I would negotiate a month of unpaid work in exchange for a time-and-a-half bonus after sixty days and an employment contract for a year.
    Staying would prove loyalty to British Air and their acceptance would prove their appreciation.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  49. Drew Pritt

    YES this is a wonderful idea. So much it seems is about me, me, me and we have forgotten the old values of sacrifice and community. I am 34 yrs. but I am one of this generation who believes there's a lot to be said for some of the values which have disappeared. Maybe if we spent more time as a community, and helped our neighbors and everyone out, and less time on "getting mine", then we wouldn't have the problems we face today.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  50. Sean

    No, I wouldn't. The point of working is to make money to line on. Why do I have this nagging feeling that if they weren't being paid, there would be few workers?

    June 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  51. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale Florida


    The empoyees of Eastern Airlines will tell you that the planes will fly regardless of how you paint the name.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  52. Ken

    Works for me. Since I'm retired I'll work a month for free each year if I can get the travel benefits.

    For those that depend on their job to pay the bills it could be a hard choice, but I would probably take a cut in pay over a cut in m job.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  53. Victor from Chicago, IL

    It depends on how good of a job I'm willing to do that for.

    $40,000+ job with benefits, definitely. Flipping burgers, no.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  54. Tony

    I would agree to work for a month without pay to try to save my company and job. However, I don't think that would help. I personally believe that the U.S. economy will not make a true recovery.

    -Tony Tate

    June 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  55. Remo .............. Austin, Texas

    What do you mean "would I"? I already have worked 2 weeks out of a 4 week furlough to keep my job. Try making it on 11 months pay when you're already counting pennies. Say didn't Obama go out on the town to a tune of $150K in tax payer money? It must be nice to scarf off someone elses dime.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  56. Shirley Hagopian

    Yes, I would work for a month without pay to save my job.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  57. Karl from SF, CA

    If I felt my employer had treated me fairly over the years and this was necessary to save my job and the jobs of my co-workers I’d work. If I saw it as just a means for upper management to get richer at my expense, I'd take the time off to find another job.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  58. Jeremy in Orlando

    Jack, I did just that September last year. By November the company I worked for went under and I haven't had steady work since. If your employer can't pay you for a month, it's time to find another job.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  59. Margaret

    It depends on how good the employer has been to me at that point. Is my salary fair? Is my boss fair? Are my benefits decent? Do I feel respected and appreciated? If the answer is yes to all of the above, I would most likely agree to a work for no pay for a month in order to save my job and help the company.

    However, if the employer has been reckless with their money and there is a great deal of unfairness and animosity – no way.

    It's survival of the fittest in this economy. If you're an unfit company, you don't deserve to have your employees work for free.

    Westminster, Colorado

    June 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  60. Eric S

    No way!!! I would start looking for another job. Especially if the CEO says its the worst in 30 years!! Time for a new field!

    June 17, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  61. Ellery

    If the company provided health benifits then i would work for free.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  62. Bob in Meredith NH

    Absolutely. A small risk for a potential reward as we slowly come out of this recession.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  63. Ballard Powell

    Nobody wants to work for no pay unless Otis absolutely necessay to save your job, and the jobs of coworkers.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  64. Floyd Vahalik

    I might have to work for a month with no wages, but I feel for the employees caught in this situation. You can bet that the CEO could work for a year and not feel the pain.

    These employees are circling the drain. I feel for them and their families.
    Years of mismanagement are taking their toll, as well as the horribly sick American economy.

    Idaho Falls, ID 83406

    June 17, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  65. Marcus Jackson Atlanta, GA

    I have two Master's Degree, and I am already working for free. It's called an intern, and volunteering with agencies in hope that I get a job. So, yeah I would work for free, if I can get some medical benefits.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  66. Frederick McNulty

    I would only take such a measure if it was ABSOLUTELY necessary – just like those 1,000 or so employees are doing. Look, nobody wants work for nothing, but these are tough times.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  67. Jason

    I have already worked a cumulative amount of multiple months of overtime – without extra pay – contributing to my employer's success over the course of my career. I didn't receive anything extra except brief nods of acknowledgment. In the last year, I decided not to work more for less. No more overtime without pay. No more extra mile for nothing for a "for profit" company. No one dies and says that they wish they had worked more in their life. There is no way that I would work for free for anyone ever again.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  68. Casper

    If management would accept working without pay as a percentage of salary, and additionally suspend all bonuses and stock options, we could at least begin the discussion.

    Did I mention flying coach on business trips...

    June 17, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  69. MQu

    I would work for free, but not when the chief boss (CEO) earns 61,000 pounds a month, That's about $100,000. Sorry no chance. PS As a Brit, I hate British Airways since I begged them to not charge me for my second bag on my honeymoon but they flatly refused. Its payback time. Oh yes, and not to forget, the recent lawsuit that found them guilty of ripping off passengers with fuel prices. They are getting what they deserve.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  70. Rose

    I don't make enough to live on now. The company I work for cut our pay and most of all the benefits now and expect me to do the work of 2 people with same old excuse of low economy, couldn't prove it by me by my workload. Yet the management get same as usual. NO way will I work for free.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  71. andrew l rainey


    If I had to give up one months pay to save my job...I'd do it in a minute. Times are very difficult, any thing to feed the family.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  72. ed

    Worked for a company that hit tough times. We all took a 10% paycut to try and save cash and the company. Entreprenurial types understand this. Government workers and big company workers don't. By the way, the company failed. That's the risk you take.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  73. kp, california

    This would be reasonable if management said that they would recompense voluntary workers for their time - at least by 50% - once the economy gets better. And the condition would be that they pay the workers before they pay the stockholders. That could be a dealbreaker for management who don't want to displease stockholders, but hey, we all have to suffer.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  74. Daniel Lopez

    It's pretty simple, will I be expected to pay my bills?

    Miramar, FL

    June 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  75. Annie, Atlanta

    Of course, but you have to wonder if it would actually save jobs. How about bringing CEO pay more in line with what it should be. That would probably save not only jobs, but whole companies.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  76. Chris H (airline employee)

    I would work for free for 1 month if I knew my job was in jeopardy. I would call my creditors and let them know my arrangement and see if they could go without a payment for 1 month too? You have to do whatever is necessary to survive. I'm sure BA would ask if it wasn't absolutely a crisis.

    I took a 10 percent pay cut to keep my job back in the early 90's. I'm still employed with the same airline.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  77. TC

    I would work for a month without pay to save my job but only if there is a solid posibility that the job will be there. Why waist the time and be unemployed anyway. The only one benefiting at that point is the employer. Frankly if it is too dificult for the company to survive then maybe it's time for them to go and be replaced with a company that can.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  78. Leon

    I had this on my mind a couple of days ago. If every American would be willing to work without pay for at least one day, and all of the money be put into our economy, what a difference that will make. I think it's a great idea that the British airlines have thought up.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  79. Joe Shaffer

    YES, I would sacrafice a months worth of pay to keep the company in tact, so long as "upper management" will do the same! Think that would happen??

    Joe in Texas

    June 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  80. Summer

    I could 100% work for free for a month if it meant being able to keep a job. Great! – the CEO is taking a month of free pay, but he can't save a company on his own. Whatever happened to no I in team? A paycut would more than likely earn someone less money over time than being asked to work for free for a month.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  81. Ken in NC

    Would the Power Company allow me to skip paying the power bill this month so I can have the funds to pay it next month? Would the kids let me skip feeding them this month so I can feed then next month? I DON'T THINKN SO.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  82. Preston Morrison

    I would if they could convince the people i owe to waver my debt to them for a month.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  83. Greg Williams

    I am an airline mechanic at American Airlines maintenance base in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We had to take concessions equaling about 25% of our compensation two years ago to prevent bankruptcy. That works out to working a free month every four months. I would jump at the chance to lose one month and then be back on full pay.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  84. W in Peoria IL

    Yes. Already do. We're taking 4 weeks of rolling layoffs without pay. My company is keeping us employed and I'm glad to do my share.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  85. Grace

    Definately "NO". This is not because I am against lending a hand when needed but if I am going to sacrfice my time, It has to be for charity. All these companies put people at the top who make bad decisions and I have to suffer for it? Hek NO

    June 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  86. Bobby

    Yes I would. I think it would be wise for young employees like me that are fresh out of college to rank up that experience with a company that is willing to give you that opportunnity when the nasty recession is trying to steal that from you.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  87. Rose

    I just read one of these that said if you did it to save company that they would later reward you for your loyalty....GET real. They would sacrifice anyone of us in a heartbeat to save a buck.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  88. Riku Paakkonen

    Maybe without salary but then company should be able to offer options or stocks. This would help company in short run but would compensate the workers later.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  89. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Sure, but then I'd take a paid vacation afterwards. LOL

    June 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  90. Elise

    That's easy! I would definitely work for a month for no pay in order to save my job. Here's the formula:

    My monthly salary x 11 vs monthly unemployment benefits x 12.
    Which is higher? My annual salary with the loss of one month's pay will net me far more money than unemployment benefits for a year.

    I'm not saying it wouldn't be hard and that I wouldn't be standing in the food pantry line, but I'd make it.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  91. Jacob

    Wouldn't such "work for free" practice force competing airlines to do the same, or go out of business? Instead of the price adjustments (oil and airline fare), that may lead to a destruction of the industry.
    Northbrook, IL.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  92. John

    You might want to verify this... There was a Star Leder political column that concerned furloughed government employees that mentioned that it was illegal for an employer to allow you to work if they furlough you... It violates the minimum wage act! The story also mentioned that it was also illegal for the employee to offer to do this because of the potential for coercion. This ran several weeks ago.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  93. John in Ithaca, NY

    Jack, if I made a lot of money at my job (like you and Wolf) I would no doubt work for a month to keep it. But most of us can't afford to do that. The only way I could pull it off would be if the grocery store, the landlord, and the utility companies could take less money for the month.

    All of this amounts to a bailout. But if there's anything a recession shows us, it's how interconnected and interdependent we all are - individuals and companies alike. Rather than have the employees pay for the bailout, wouldn't it be nice if the grocery store, the landlord, and the utility companies pitched in?

    June 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  94. chika, California

    No way. Will they pay my bills and motgage for one month? i may as well start looking for another job so that i can put food on the table and pay my bills

    June 17, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  95. Barbara Giordano

    Loyality from corporations are nil to none. It is not uncommon to be given a pink slip while away on vacation. No. I would not work for free on only a possibility of having a job. The company would need to guarantee in writing I will be gainfully employee and if the company is struggling financially to the point they're recruiting employees to work gratis, I don't see any guarantee forthcoming. Therefore, a resounding "no".

    June 17, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  96. Paul

    No way – not unless it is paid back! Imagine asking for double your wages this month and in these trying times.
    Business doesn't treat us like people anymore, Jack.
    My advice to those in this situation is to get skilled, and get needed, fast.


    June 17, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  97. Joseph Wardy...Randolph, NJ

    This request is within the scope of sacrificing short term for long term opportunity. Saving our job is but a microcosm of saving the jobs of oithers and protecting the company from bankruptcy.

    If you choose not to take this option, you take the risk of losing a job and collecting unemployment hence competing with thousands of others. One month without pay amounts to a pay cut of 8.3% which is much less loss than the new jobs the lucky people are finding. The Internet had a story last week of an exoecutive who earned $200,000 now working for $25,000 in a restaurant where he once dined. It is time not to feel sorry for ourselves as I am remended of the following quote: " I felt sorry for myself because i had no shoes until i met a persoan who had no feet"!

    June 17, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  98. Dennis


    If I were a company and loosing millions of dollars every month, I think I would compromise. Instead of asking employees to take a leave for a month or a week or however long, I would lower the price of tickets to attract more business. If you lower the price, they will come. Now, instead of losing maybe ^ hundred milliom dollars they only lose say 3 hundred million. Isn't that a better way to do business? People could keep their jobs.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  99. Molly

    Yes if the mortgage,the utilities and the grocery store are waived for that month!

    June 17, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  100. gerald

    Of course. It's a matter of self preservation. The long view must prevail. But that shouldn't let management off the hook. One month of free CEO work in no way matches what employees will lose. Otherwise it's nothing more than hypocrisy. So management should make a commitment to make up for the loss of compensation when better times occur.
    Woodmere NY

    June 17, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  101. Ben

    No. Work without pay is an internship. This is also known throughout much of the world as slavery. Under such a plan, what prevents a company from merely squeezing a final unpaid month of work out of individuals before they lay them off? Accepting this arrangement would be unwise.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  102. my

    Jack you actually think these people have a choice? Management will remember this when it comes time for raises, promotions, lay-offs, etc.In a bad economy employees have no leverage. What are they going to do quit and go where.? The employers are in charge as they are most of the time . Get used to it, this is the future.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  103. Peter

    No Jack, I will not work a day without pay, let alone a whole month. Companies are taking the opportunity and the excuse of recession to mess with employees in all possible ways. British Airways employees should tell the CEO and all the top executives to work for $1 for the whole year, instead of them asking all the hardworking individuals to work for $0. This supposed economy crisis (yes, it is not real) is creating a joke of hardworking men and women and their lives. If I have to work without pay, I will work for myself – fishing or goofing-off otherwise.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  104. susan renehan

    Sure I would be happy to give up a months pay....if the electric company, oil company, insurance companies, and credit card companies would be willing to give up a month of thier charges.
    How come it's always the hard working middle class and working poor (like me) who are supposed to give up raises and pay and benefits while the bosses take off a month or more a year to hang out at one of thier favorite ski resort homes or places by the ocean.
    British Air should appeal to the oil companies for lower prices, I am sure they will get a great response

    June 17, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  105. Kara

    I would work free for a month to save a colleagues job. I work for the 5th largest school district in the US. All annual contract teachers were notified, via certified mail, they no longer had teaching positions. They were given some comfort by being told they would be on call if positions become available.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  106. Susan Smith, Vancouver BC

    Given a choice between working for no pay or not working at all, I will take work for no pay. At least there is the prospect of future pay with a company that I have chosen to support in hard times.

    Or, I could start looking for a new job while I stand in an unemployment line. Just to be clear, I am not a complete idiot, there would be a time limit on my loyalty.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  107. Paul Albert

    Jack, the answer can be summed up in an old adage, "A drowning man will grapple for a straw." Believe it or not a lot of Americans could forego a month salary to save their jobs. In fact some labor statistics will confirm that this scenario is already occurring in slightly different and subtle ways. It comes in the form of voluntary leave, time out without pay or sometimes shorter work weeks which produce the efficacious and cumulative effect of wage suppression. The old saying that, "Drastic illness demands drastic treatment," could become a prophecy in fullfilment right here in America.

    Paul Albert
    North Carolina

    June 17, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  108. Paulette Moreland

    After 25 years of exceptional service, to the same hospital I was not asked and my 60,000.00 salary was slashed by 10,000.00 a year. This is part of an effort to get the "big ticket" more experienced nurses out of the building. At least the airline employees were asked. I have told the president as he squeezes the health care industry to cut costs, it will in turn squeeze out the experienced high priced nurses and the sick people will get care from the younger more mistake prone crowd. Hopefully the airlines will keep at least one person per flight on board that has flown a plane before. Good luck to all industries as they try to save money by squeezing the "workers" and not the administrative crews. All service will suffer and more money will be spent in the long run. No one seems to have any vision when it's quick dollars they are looking for!!

    June 17, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  109. Johnny

    If all Americans would stop and think before they react they would find themselves working without pay in order to keep their jobs for the long haul. British Airway personnel are looking at ways to maintain some income over no income.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  110. Jeff - Richmond, VA

    Let's see, if I make $5,000 per month, and the CEO makes $500,000 per month, that's 100 times what I make. I suppose I would work one month without compensation of any kind if my CEO is willing to work for 100 months without compensation of any kind. Kind of puts the pain in perspective for the CEOs. CEOs with their pay level would recover instantly after foregoing their compensation for one month (as long as it's not the month where they get their eight figure lump sum stock option bonuses).

    June 17, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  111. willie ward

    No. To many companies only ask more and more give backs of the working class while ,knowing that the boat is sinking.They did not share the profits. Now they want you to share the losses. Get what is owed to you. Hopefully, when the boat goes down, you have a seat on a lifeboat.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  112. Evans

    In dire situations like this absolutely no one can sacrifice working without PAY. Top executives will be able to take that request without any complications. Consequently, employees cannot fulfill that and rather should be compensated for their dligent efforts. British Airways should be able to regenerate revenue to situate these problems.

    Fairfax, VA

    June 17, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  113. Akpan

    British Airways is a nightmare!
    Have they forgotten that the staffs has credit card to pay,food to buy,bills to pay etc.
    Here is a very simple solution,namely:
    Top executives should cut down their wages by about half ,that will go so much further to help.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  114. Molly

    I work 50 hours per week but my company pay me for 40.
    That is 40 hours per month which is 480 hours per year.
    I am already working for free 60days.
    Do you get the picture?
    No, I won't work 30 days more for free...enough is enough!

    June 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  115. Kerry from Jamaica

    No I would not, my experience has been that my salary is hardly enough to cover my expenses and a day after pay day I ask myself "what am I working for?".

    The top executives should forgo their salary and pay junior staff, they can afford to.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  116. Matt from San Diego

    Why should airline workers have to go without pay just to cover the costs of jet fuel? Oil companies are boasting higher profits every year while the rest of the world is being now forced to work for free? How can they be allowed to make so much money while they are forcing the rest of the world to suffer? Forget about Afghanistan, we need to go to war with the oil companies.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  117. Jenny

    I work in the service industry and most of my income is from tips. In the past year my earnings have dropped to about 50 – 60% of previous years, but I am nonetheless thankful to have a source of income. If keeping my job meant a further reduction in pay, I would gladly seize the oppurtunity to hone my financial management skills.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  118. Linda in Charleston, SC

    No more than I would trust my tax dollars to bail-out a company that was in trouble. This is pure nonsense. So you follow that company that cannot pay you right down the road to homelessness and not being able to pay your own bills. So nice for that company to ask you to do this.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  119. Mark

    I'm currently unemployed and have been for 3 1/2 months. While I was in our local state job center a reporter for our local paper interviewed me. I said I'd take a day off a week to help out the company. Shortly after that I was fired by them. I don't know the two events were related, but now I wouldn't consider the idea. My sacrifice wouldn't be enough to make a difference anyway.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  120. Tisha

    Yes, I would if I really value my job and I am committed to the company.. With fourth months salary put away in savings, It would not be a burden for me. Besides, If I were to quit, time consumed job searching, interviewing and orientation would have about a month's wait to get that first paycheck anyways.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  121. Richard-Arkansas

    Great idea for the management who make more in a week than their lowest level employees make in a year.

    Of course, if they could get the banks to give us a month off on mortgage payments, the utilities to give us a free month of utilities, and the grocery stores to give food free for a month, than this is a great idea. Otherwise, maybe it is time for BA to file for dissolution.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  122. spivey

    Work for free man can I keep my dignity. Bills don't pay by themselves. You can't go to your neighborhood grocery store and say to them "I pay you next month" it doesn't work like that. What about the "CEO's" are they doing the same thing. Its really not fair for the workers. What they suppose to in the meantime? Hybernate like a bear. I don't think so.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  123. L R JOHNSON

    No; that's what FICA layoff mechanism is for. Too many times layoffs are seen as a final solution rather than a stop gap measure in bad times. Voluntary servitude is not the answer.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  124. Andrew Bennett

    NO,I will not work for free,the beginning of slavery.This company want, the line dogs to work for free,so that they can give out( fat bonus) to their CEO's.Tell them to show their financial statement for the past five years.Some CEO's are getting million dollar bonuses even when the company is going down the tube. Example:AIG

    June 17, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  125. Ashley

    Definitely not! These are adults with responsibility such as mortgage, rent, car note, children, etc. Not teenagers who just got a job for pocket money. In addition, the ceo of british airways can sit down somewhere if he thinks that just because he (who probably makes money out his behind) can work a month without pay then he has to make the average employees in that company do the same.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  126. mike- Wilmington, DE

    Given the company is an airline, yes I would work a month without pay. I would also look for a new job. Few of the airlines are competently managed and making a profit. Southwest is the only one I can think of right now.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  127. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    Technically Jack,I have worked for nothing for the last 29 years. A housewife's work is never done! As far as IF working for a month without pay would save my job in the long run,then yes I would. I am with Wolf though,only for one month before reassessing the situation.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  128. vern-anaheim,ca

    i would if i could find a job since i am unemployed and have to depend on my social security to get by.i don't trust companies to keep me on after that month of not being paid is over,you can be sure my creditors would not give me a month off in paying my bills

    June 17, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  129. Miguel E. from San Leandro, CA

    Depending on how it was structured, working without getting paid is not a good idea. Besides keeping their jobs and we are always told that employees are a companies most important resource, what do these important resources get out of the deal?

    June 17, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  130. Dottie, California

    I have worked in health care for 37 years. In 1980, I got a 5 cent/hour incentive raise. I said to the employeer, that 5 cents was not much of an incentive. They responded by saying, "I hope you are working for more than you pay". To which I responded, "try not paying people, and see how many show up". I never thought I would see the day that an employeer would actually try this, expecially, one that has, in the past, made large profits, and paid upper management large saleries. This is modern day slavery!

    June 17, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  131. Missy

    If it meant hanging onto my health insurance, 401K and other benefits, yes, but I'd expect some kind of payoff when the company returns to normal. It isn't unusual for companies to do this - remember, many of the AIG employees (the ones who weren't involved in the troubled Financial Services Division) did this – they worked for many months without pay in exchange for a promised bonus.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  132. Rose Walters

    I understand that this country is in an economic crisis, but this is CRAZY! Layoffs are painful, a pay cut to keep your job is adding insult to injury, but working without pay – that's salvery!! Where does this end, who can afford to work for no pay. If this flies then why should employers pay employees anymore if they are willing to work for free? I understand people want to keep their jobs, but we have to look at what standards we are setting here. Once the genie is out of the bottle it will be very difficult to get it back in.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  133. Greg

    On the British Airways topic, I have mixed feeling now after being laid off for 4 months.
    If I would have known how bad it really is out here in the ranks of the unemployed when asked to take a month without pay, I surely would have to say yes to keep my job.
    Although I really can not understand that this world economy has come to the point that a man or woman has to work for no pay just to keep their lives together which they have worked so had to have is unfair.
    I am now spending my 401k plan money to keep my head above water now, and to think we have got to the point of a Corporation is being allowed to ask this is unbelievable. For families to have to spend what's left of their savings and retirement to keep their employers head above water just blows me away. SAD..

    June 17, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  134. Ryan, CT

    Don't think so Jack....This is America!!

    June 17, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  135. Jason Harter

    NO WAY!

    Slavery is out of style!

    The problem with this economy is that wealth is not circulating effectively in society. The Republican 'trickle down' theory has proven itself false.

    Slavery is out of style. Look at the southern economy as a whole compared ot the north during the civil war: a small group of rich along with massive groups in poverty equals a very bad economy.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:49 pm |