Local & Regional
11:39 am
Tue May 15, 2012

American Mechanics Reject Offer-Mayor and Chamber Reaction

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — An estimated 2,100 jobs could be lost at the American Airlines maintenance hub in Tulsa after mechanics rejected the company's final labor contract offer.

The Transport Workers Union said Tuesday that five of its work groups approved the company's offer. But its largest group, the mechanics, rejected the offer with 56 percent voting against. The union's store clerks group also voted "no."

American filed for bankruptcy protection in November and announced a plan in February to eliminate 13,000 union jobs as part of a cost-cutting move.

American has about 7,000 employees in Tulsa and is the largest private employer in the city. After the estimated layoffs, which still have to be approved by a bankruptcy court, the Tulsa hub could be down to about 4,700 employees.

AMR Corp.'s American Airlines is trying to throw out other union contracts to cut costs as it goes through bankruptcy protection. A hearing on that move continued Tuesday in federal district court in New York.

Mayor Bartlett released a statement on the vote that said,  “As our region continues to focus on aviation and aerospace as a major sector in economic development, we need to ensure that the City of Tulsa-owned facilities in use by American Airlines are competitive on a national level and beyond. The Tulsa International Airport must have modern facilities.  These facilities will require investment and modernization to keep them competitive with the demands of the global aviation and aerospace industry.”

Reaction from Chamber of Commerce President Mike Neal:

“We are disappointed by the Maintenance and Related workgroup’s decision to reject the latest contract offer from American Airlines. Turning down this proposal could alter the future of the American Airlines Tulsa MRO-base, including the potential loss more than 2,100 jobs at the facility.

However, we will continue to work towards the best outcome for the most number of people at the Tulsa facility. The Chamber and its regional partners will find workable solutions to keep the region’s aerospace industry thriving, including aggressively marketing our valued aerospace facilities and highly-skilled workforce to prepare for work that could ultimately be lost during this restructuring process.”

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.