TWU urges American Airlines to vote on 'best and final' AMR offer

TULSA - Tulsa's Transport Workers Union is urging American Airlines workers to vote on a proposal that would save jobs.

The push Wednesday was labeled as "an important announcement about the future of American Airlines work in Tulsa."

AMR, American Airlines' parent company, presented a contract proposal last week, calling it its best and final offer.

The proposal says there will be fewer layoffs and a pay raise of 7.5 percent for TWU members.

Tulsa could also receive additional workers as a result of the contract as employees from the Fort Worth facility would be relocated.  Those employees would go to Dallas and/or Tulsa.

Approximately one-third of maintenance work performed in Tulsa would be outsourced under the plan, but the exact number of local jobs affected by it is unclear.

On Wednesday, TWU urged employees to vote to accept the offer in order to lessen job loss in Tulsa.

TWU says a yes vote would save about half of the jobs in Tulsa, but a no vote would cost the Tulsa maintenance base about 2,600, not including management and non-union support staff.

Voting on the proposal begins just after midnight tonight and ends Monday, May 14 just before midnight.

Members can vote online or by telephone using voter ID numbers that have been mailed.

TWU handed out a fact sheet to workers in attendance.  The full text of the document is as follows:

TWU Urging American Airlines Workers to Vote
A ‘yes vote' would lessen job losses in Tulsa by 50 percent
(TULSA, Okla.) — Transport Workers Union officials in Tulsa on Wednesday urged thousands of American Airlines mechanics and related workers to vote on the "Last Best Offer" from American Airlines. The polling begins at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, May 10 and ends Monday, May 14 just before midnight. Members can vote online or by telephone using voter ID numbers that have been mailed to members.


"We are at a critical juncture in the bankruptcy process and this vote is extremely important," said John Hewitt , chairman of maintenance for Transport Workers Union Local 514. "The decision of our members will have a direct impact on the American Airlines workforce as well as the Tulsa area communities. Our members will have to do a lot of soul searching before casting this difficult ballot. Every ballot cast represents what is best not only for that individual, but for their families as well."

A no vote on the Last Best Offer by the membership gives the bankruptcy court the authority to terminate the current labor contract and the company would then impose new terms. The company's terms include scrapping very important parts of the contract (retiree medical, vacation, a significant pay cut for 345 mechanics). It would also close the Alliance Ft. Worth Maintenance base and outsource the work. Also outsourced would be all the 757 and 767 work currently performed in Tulsa. This would result in the loss of approximately 2,600 jobs at the Tulsa maintenance base, not including management and non-union support staff.

A yes vote on the Last Best Offer results in the membership voluntarily conceding those very important parts of their contract (retiree medical, vacation, a significant pay cut for 345 mechanics). A yes vote would save some of the 757 work in Tulsa. Voting yes still results the Alliance Ft. Worth base closing, however, a large portion of the AFW work would be brought to Tulsa. Voting yes would lessen the job reductions by approximately 50 percent.

"This is a difficult situation for all of American Airlines employees and their families, but at least this vote gives them the opportunity to determine the future of their careers" said Hewitt. "The reason the Tulsa maintenance base has been here for over 65 years is the union contract. We have been able to perform 92 percent of American Airlines maintenance through the years."

The public is asked to encourage their friends, family members and neighbors who are American Airlines mechanics to vote on this important issue. They can also make their voices heard by showing their support at where more than 18,300 people have entered their names.

2NEWS Reporter Casey Roebuck is following the developments.  Stay with as the details become available.

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