American Airlines veteran employee fears he could lose his job

TULSA - American Airlines employees fear they could lose their jobs. One man learned of the news at 6 a.m. Tuesday through the company's internal news system. He says it made for an oddly quiet work day.

"People are still trying to digest it, figure out what's going on. People have their own lives to worry about," says Derrick Williams.

For sixteen years, Williams has proudly worn his tattered American Airlines badge.  He is an aircraft mechanic, and now fears the company filing bankruptcy could impact his day to day expenses. "I helped my daughter get a car last night. What kind of security do I have in the future dealing with that?"

Williams says he's given up more than 17-percent of his paycheck since 2003. He's taken cuts on salary, insurance, and vacation days.

Williams says he and other mechanics normally work under a three year contract, but have had no security since 2007. "We don't know what's going to happen to the base in Tulsa," he said.

Williams now thinks the reason mechanical jobs are being moved to Dallas is to shutdown or sell the Tulsa base. He says, "they've been wanting to outsource maintenance for a long time. With bankruptcy now they can throw out contracts, they don't have to obey any agreed upon rules. They can do whatever they want."

Jake Dollarhide manages investments for major airliners, including Southwest. He says the filing could actually strengthen employee relations.

Dollarhide says, "I think there's a very good chance one year from now those jobs will still be here for the long term. Mainly because American is going to look to cut costs where possible, and do business in low costs areas, Tulsa one of them."

Williams believes if additional layoffs occur, they will be phased in. At this point, he has no clue what will happen.

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