TULSA - Members of the Transport Workers Union accepted American Airline's tentative contract agreement by a slim margin Wednesday.
Union members approved the contract by only 48 votes, with a final tally of 50.25 percent yes, 49.75 percent no.
The six-year agreement includes:
- A 3 percent pay raise upon signing for M&R workers
- A 3.5 percent raise for Stores workers
- Improved health insurance from the previous company offer
- Market readjustment based on industry compensation after 36 months
- Full contract RLA Section 6 re-opener after four years
- Mechanics and maintenance workers are giving up $156 million in benefits and pay.
Currently about 7,000 people are employed at American's massive maintenance facility at Tulsa International Airport.
The deal saves 1,300 jobs and avoids facing bankruptcy judge on August 15 who could cut 2,600 jobs. That saves 1,300 jobs.
Many workers can take early out on their contracts to cut down on layoffs. This contract isn't final. It must be approved by a bankruptcy judge.
"I don't believe it's a good career for anyone right now," said maintenance worker Malinda Hamm. "I even tell my children 'please don't get in this career."
Hamm said she gave up pay and benefits in 2003 so American could avoid bankruptcy. Eight years later, bankruptcy is back on the table, and she says she's nowhere close to getting back to her 2003 level.
With the voting so close, Hamm fears low morale will only dip further.
"I don't want to go to work. I really don't. I think it's going to be a horrible experience," she said.