Hundreds Hit Tulsa Fair Seeking Jobs, Others Rally To Keep Them

Friday, October 7th 2011, 12:05 pm
By: News On 6

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- America's staggering unemployment holds steady. It was announced Friday that the national rate stayed at 9.1 percent.

Oklahoma's has been significantly better than that, but the weak economy is still hitting home. The state's latest report showed a 5.6 percent unemployment rate.

Jobs are on a lot of minds right now -- from the unemployed looking for work to the employed hoping to keep their jobs.

Local postal workers and American Airlines mechanics are sending a message: Keep jobs in Tulsa. They held a rally Friday in front of the BOK Center at 3rd and Denver.

The U.S. Postal Service may close a processing facility in Tulsa to save money, which would cost 573 people their jobs. American Airlines is considering relocating about 230 jobs from Tulsa to Dallas.

"It's a big base of our economy that takes a big chunk out of the tax base and that alone will hurt the city," said Cynthia McNeilance, Organizer.

The demonstrators say besides the 800 middle-class jobs at stake, the ripple effect is even bigger

"Impacts local business on a regular basis and could have a definite bearing on their commerce, so our biggest purpose is to make the public aware," McNeilance said.

At the same time, thousands are looking for work. Goodwill Industries of Tulsa invited 25 employers to a job fair to meet people like Tammie Leiker.

Leiker is 49-years-old and she's been jobless for four years.

"Depressing, very depressing," she said.

Her struggle is she doesn't have a GED. She's in the process of getting it and Goodwill is helping her get there.

"You don't know what's going to make you competitive or not. We've been able to stay on the cutting edge because we know our employers very well," said Sabrina Ware, Goodwill Coordinator.

Goodwill has placed more than 500 people into area jobs so far this year. Leiker hopes she'll be added to that list soon.

"I've got my daughter in college now and so it's time for me to take care of myself and get out there and help her pay for her college," Leiker said.

American Airlines is reiterating they're committed to operations in Tulsa and have hired 500 people since the beginning of the year when other airlines are sending work overseas.

American Airlines and the U.S. Postal Service have not made a final decision.

You can get involved by signing petitions that are circulating. For the American Airlines petition, go to American Jobs For Tulsa. For the Postal Service jobs, go to Transport Workers Union Local 514.