Employees of American fight job loss, call on elected officials

TULSA - The Transport Workers Union is continuing the fight to save jobs at American Airlines.

As that number continues to grow, the American workers have not given up just yet.

Now workers are calling on lawmakers and the community for support.

American Airlines workers with the Transport Workers Union began printing hundreds of yard signs on Tuesday. They are campaigning for all of the support they can get.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue with the airline.  

Each new yard sign brings a flicker of hope to American Airlines workers.

"Right now we're just waiting, waiting to hear the news," worker Chris Rhinehart said.

Workers are still waiting for the final word after American Airlines announced it will cut 13,000 jobs nationwide.

"There's a lot of uneasiness out there. I'm a shopster, and everyday when we report to work, my crew's coming to me, and they want to know what's happening. They want to know what's going on," Rhinehart said.

With 2,100 jobs in Tulsa on the line, union workers are taking action. They are printing and posting yard signs to send across the country. So far, 15,329 people have pledged their support at ISupportAmericanJobs.com.

"We're hoping the more support we can get will better influence that process to come to terms with something that we can all live with," Rhinehart said.

Aircraft mechanic Jack Higginbotham has been through this drill before. He was laid off by American Airlines in 2003 and returned to the company two years ago.  

"One day you feel pretty comfortable in your future, and the next day, the company's filed bankruptcy and you start looking at your finances and your plans for the future, and I know mine have changed," he said.

For now, workers hope posting these signs will drum up enough support to keep negotiations on their side.

"I believe it will make a big difference. They always say strength in numbers. So, maybe it'll get some attention," Higgenbotham said.

Workers are calling on Governor Mary Fallin and several other lawmakers to add their names to the website in a show of support.

American Airlines released this statement to 2News today:

"American Airlines is committed to preserving thousands of quality jobs in Tulsa. We realize change is difficult, but it's necessary for American to become a successful company and continue to employ thousands of people in Oklahoma. Our roots here are deep - dating back nearly six decades. Making these crucial decisions now will help American Airlines continue to be a vital part of the community in the years ahead," said Andrea Huguely, a spokesperson with American Airlines.

Once negotiations are complete, a bankruptcy judge will have the final say on any possible layoffs.

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