Documents Show American Airlines To Cut 993 Workers In Tulsa

Tuesday, September 11th 2012, 11:55 am
By: News On 6

According to an American Airlines document posted to the Transport Workers Union's web site the airline is cutting 993 mechanics and maintenance workers at its Tulsa maintenance base.

American currently employs 5,150 workers in Tulsa, according to the document. By February 2013, that number will be reduced to 4,157.

While the union continues to fight for its members, it's important to note that hundreds of non-union employees have already been let go from the company.

"Yeah, most people had a lot of years in and were 50-plus," said former employee Terry Eaton.

Eaton worked for American Airlines for 24 years.

His job as a financial analyst was cut in early July.

He said 20% of American's management, across the country, was cut this summer, and that includes at least a dozen of Eaton's close friends here in Tulsa.

"I was planning on working until I was 65. I fell six years short, and there's a lot of guys just like me out there," Eaton said.

Eaton's job is just one of thousands of casualties since American Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection.

The company has now told the union how it plans to reorganize.

In Tulsa, 993 jobs are at risk, with the first group being let go in December and the second group in February of next year.

The company plans to begin closing the maintenance base at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth in December, with the work being done there to be transferred to Tulsa or Dallas-Fort Worth.

"It's ironic that we're talking on the day of 9/11, because that's when it really all began," Eaton said.

Eaton said you can trace the airline's troubles to the 9/11 attacks, but he also said both management and the union shoulder some of the blame for the airline's bankruptcy.

He said it's important the public know that it's not just union members who are losing their jobs, but also longtime managerial employees, who have suddenly been put in the unemployment line.

"There's a lot of guys in the same boat I am in—their upper 50s, looking for work similar to what they had, and it's really hard to find," Eaton said.

Union leaders here in Tulsa said they disagree with the number of jobs that American has put forward.

American has agreed to take a second look.

The plan goes before a bankruptcy judge Wednesday.