Tulsa American Airlines Workers Protest Outsourcing
TULSA, Oklahoma - A thunderous beat greeted passengers at Tulsa International Airport on Wednesday.
The Transport Workers Union Local 514 picketed in front of the terminal.
"They want to continue to outsource work to the lowest bidder. It's not safe," said Dale Danker, the Union President.
Danker says they organized the rally after hitting a wall in recent contract negotiations - specifically what he says is American Airlines looking to outsource more jobs to foreign countries.
"Even though you may walk over here and get on a plane that says American on the side of it. It doesn't necessarily mean that it is maintained in America," he said.
Danker says most airlines, including American, already offshore some maintenance overseas, but he says American wants to expand that to 50 percent, a 15 percent increase.
"What does that mean for Tulsa and those cities when we retire?” said Danker. “Where's this work going to be performed at?"
Right now, American employs more than 4,000 maintenance workers here in Tulsa, but Danker worries, they won't replace those jobs when they retire.
It's a concern of others around the country as well.
"Those jobs and the safety of the flying public is at risk," said Sean Ryan, who works in Charlotte and a member of the Machinists Union, and flew in for the rally.
American Airlines sent us a statement in response to the rally.
“American insources more maintenance work than anyone else in the industry. And that won’t change. As it relates to heavy maintenance, the majority of this work is done in the U.S., with the only work being done outside the U.S. taking place in Central America with our trusted partner Aeroman, who also performs work for other U.S. carriers. The majority of the scheduled line maintenance work being done outside the U.S. is performed in South America by American Airlines team members, not contractors. The vast majority of them are FAA-A&P licensed AMTs, and those not are in the process of receiving their A&P licenses. All of the work performed in our South American maintenance facilities, as well as any other work that is outsourced, is subject to the same FAA regulations as maintenance performed in the U.S. We remain committed to Tulsa and our maintenance base, and have invested tens of millions in the facility since the merger. We have recently insourced work to our Tulsa team like the CFM56-5B engine overhaul, and plan to hire more mechanics for the base this year. We’re also adding 250 AMTs to our line maintenance operation system-wide, along with opening a new line maintenance station in Houston.”