American Airlines workers to decide on 'last best offer'

TULSA - It's decision time for American Airlines workers.

Wednesday night at midnight, union employees will start voting on the company's "last best offer." Anywhere from Tulsa 1,300 to 2,600 jobs are on the line.

Union workers and their families are facing a difficult decision. They know some jobs can be saved if they accept the offer.

But either way, hundreds of jobs will be lost.

A six year final contract offer is on the table for American Airlines union workers.

"The whole situation is devastating, because it's a lose-lose situation," said Marco Enriquez, a line maintenance mechanic.

The contract includes shutting down the Fort Worth maintenance base and cutting pensions, retiree medical coverage and vacation days.

"There's very little upside to voting yes, but it's much worse if we vote no," said Enriquez.

Enriquez has been with the airline for 26 years. He knows if the contract is voted down, the Tulsa base could lose 2,600 jobs instead of 1,300.

"And the options are -- do you want to vote for something bad? Or do you want to vote for something worse?" he said.

On Wednesday, the local union urged thousands of workers to get out and vote. In the meantime, regional leaders voiced their support for the airline's offer.

"For all of those families, for those communities, we are supportive today of doing what we can to try to save as many jobs as possible at American Airlines," said John Smaligo, a Tulsa County Commissioner.

"And we just want them to know, it's a tough decision they're making. We respect that. But we're a unified voice saying economic development is about the creation of, and preservation of quality jobs. AA offers quality jobs," said Gary Akin, president of the Owasso Chamber of Commerce.

As for Enriquez, he thinks his seniority will save him. But either way the vote goes, a lot of his co-workers will be cut.

"I'm lucky, I get to keep my job. My buddy next to me that does the same thing I do, will not be able to keep his job. And it's a horrible situation," he said.

The voting window for union workers runs through Monday night.

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