Two Tulsa TWU Units Ratify New Agreement With American Airlines

Tuesday, August 7th 2012, 10:24 pm
By: News On 6

Members of the Transport Workers Union of America's two Tulsa units have voted to ratify new contract agreements with American Airlines.

Workers in the maintenance and stores bargaining units had until midnight Tuesday to approve or reject the new deal.

This was considered the last chance for the TWU to decide its own fate before a bankruptcy judge steps in.

The results were close and mean nearly 1,500 jobs have been saved in Tulsa.

The new contract gives maintenance workers a 3% raise and a 3.5% raise for warehouse workers.

The union says the new deal also has better health benefits and allows for a market readjustment after 36 months.

7/11/2012 Related Story: TWU Tentative Agreement With American Could Mean Tulsa Jobs Lost

TWU's international president, James Little, said in a letter to his members, "Make no mistake, nobody is happy with a concessionary agreement, but the ratification of these agreements is better than what our members would have faced with a court-imposed solution."

If the union had voted against the contract offer the bankruptcy judge could have canceled its current contract and implemented whatever American was asking.

A spokesman for the airline said the company knows the decision was difficult, but, "The ratified agreements will help American reach our targeted cost savings and increase productivity and network flexibility, while preserving nearly 1,900 TWU jobs that would have been eliminated under the original term sheets..."

American said the vote means 770 jobs will be cut from maintenance and related departments, while 90 jobs will be lost from the stores unit. But more than 1,470 jobs will be saved in Tulsa.

The vote comes as we learn that American Airlines is facing a possible fine of more than $160 million from the FAA.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the FAA said the company should be penalized for alleged maintenance problems going back to 2007.

8/8/2012 Related Story: FAA Seeks $162 Million In Fines Against AMR, American Airlines

Some of those allegations are on planes serviced in Tulsa.

American says it never operated an aircraft that was unsafe for flight and it's been working with the FAA to improve training and oversight in its maintenance positions.

American also says the FAA notice of fines is just one part of the bankruptcy process and that any penalty the company may have to pay is still to be determined.