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Uncertain Future Looms For Tulsa AA Workers After Union Rejection

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Jordan Johnson voted "yes" on the contract. He started six months ago in American's Maintenance group. Jordan Johnson voted "yes" on the contract. He started six months ago in American's Maintenance group.
Union leaders here are still waiting on the vote breakdown to see how local members voted versus other union members across the country. Union leaders here are still waiting on the vote breakdown to see how local members voted versus other union members across the country.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Employees at Tulsa's American Airlines base are bracing for the possibility of more turbulent times. Two groups within the Transport Workers Union are now at the mercy of a bankruptcy judge.

The groups, including our local mechanics, have rejected American's last, best offer. The judge isn't expected to make a decision about whether to terminate the current union contracts until early June.

05/15/2012 Related Story: Mechanics Vote Down American Airlines' 'Last, Best' Contract Offer

Of the seven divisions of the TWU, only two voted against American's offer. Those two groups represent the largest portion of Tulsa's workforce.

"Honestly, I don't know why they turned it down because I think the judge could make things a lot worse," AA Worker Jordan Johnson said.

Jordan Johnson voted "yes" on the contract. He started six months ago in American's Maintenance group.

Union sources say under the airline's final offer, Johnson's position would have been eliminated or his pay would have been cut by $9 per hour.

"I know it may not seem like it was a great deal, but it was better than nothing," Johnson said.

The offer would have saved close to 1300 jobs in Tulsa. Now American can ask a bankruptcy judge to void its contracts with the two groups that rejected the proposal.

"There's always a tension here between how much relief American needs to survive and thrive and what is too much and unfair to the unions," Bankruptcy Attorney Sid Swinson said.

Swinson says the judge will consider three things to make that decision:

  • First, was American's last offer fair to everyone involved?
  • Second, was the union's rejection unjustified?
  • And finally, is it in the best interest of all parties to throw out current union contracts?

If the answers are yes, the contracts are tossed.

"It really does change the dynamics and puts American in the driver seat, if you will, because they can shed themselves of the more onerous contract and negotiate a more favorable contract," Swinson said.

Johnson says the decision can't come soon enough.

"That's what I was hoping for out here, get some money. maybe even get a career out here, but... that didn't happen," Johnson said.

He's trying to figure out his next move, the same as local union leaders.

American says it's disappointed the Mechanic and Stores workgroups rejected the company's proposal.

Union leaders here are still waiting on the vote breakdown to see how local members voted versus other union members across the country.

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