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Tulsa American Airline workers lose jobs

Updated:

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ An aviation slowdown since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is taking a direct toll on Tulsa's work force.

American Airlines is laying off 3,500 employees nationwide and 750 in Tulsa, company executives and workers said Friday.

In Tulsa, 400 mechanics _ members of the 8,000-member Local 514 of the Transport Workers Union _ are receiving layoff notices, along with 350 management and support staff members from American's 1,400-employee Administrative Center at Tulsa International Airport.

In addition, Tulsa-based Nordam Group, which makes and repairs aircraft components, announced 170 layoffs, a cut of just under 6 percent, company spokeswoman Donna Ham said Friday. Nordam has a local work force of 2,600.

Aviation companies contribute $3.3 billion to the five-county Tulsa metropolitan area.

More layoffs are possible at American's maintenance center in the days ahead and at Boeing, which employs more than 1,500 in Tulsa. Boeing recently announced plans to cut 30,000 jobs companywide.

American's parent company, Texas-based AMR Corp., began companywide layoffs Friday. Job cuts will be staggered over the next four weeks and are expected to hit all operating groups and management ranks.

About 15,000 American workers will be laid off, along with 3,000 workers at Trans World Airlines and 1,700 at the American Eagle commuter line.

``American Airlines is a company in crisis in an industry in crisis,'' American Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Donald Carty told employees Friday in companywide memo.

``We're laying off thousands of people, shutting down routes, taking food off a large number of flights, closing service centers and retiring at least 50 airplanes _ all as we start a slow recovery from the devastating effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,'' he said.

``The losses we face are truly staggering. They exceed anything we ever imagined at American. Right now, it is survival, not profitability, that is our core challenge,'' he said.

Laid-off employees will receive severance pay and benefits as a result of American's first $900 million installment of a $15 billion federal aid package.

The Fort Worth-based airline had faced criticism as one of the only carriers that said it would not pay severance benefits to laid-off employees.

Many American Airlines employs live in the Tulsa suburb of Owasso. A city official said layoffs are always a concern.

``If American Airlines is laying off employees, then smaller companies that work for American would be forced to layoff employees, and that would be a larger concern for us,'' Owasso City Manager Larry Mitchell said.
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