Tulsa maintenance workers vote to reject American Airlines' final contract proposal

TULSA - The voting has ended on what American Airlines called the "last, best offer" for union workers. The answer is no.

Officials say aircraft maintenance and related workers voted to reject the six-year contract, which would have cut the number of lost jobs in Tulsa by about half.

Five out of seven Transport Workers Union bargaining units voted to accept the offer. The maintenance workers, who make up the majority of the employees in Tulsa, voted against it.

The five bargaining units represent fleet service clerks, dispatchers, ground school instructors, maintenance control technicians and simulator technicians.

The "yes" votes came from 59 percent of fleet service clerks (3,872 to 2,722) who voted to accept the contract along with 92 percent of dispatchers (134 to 12), 96 percent of ground school instructors (126 to 5), 84 percent of maintenance control technicians (72 to 14) and 85 percent of simulator technicians (53 to 9).

TWU will now seek court approval for these five contracts.

Without the contract, an estimated 2,600 Tulsa maintenance and related jobs could be lost.

Store clerks voted against the contract (521 to 495) with 51 percent of the vote and the union's maintenance and related bargaining unit voted down the company's last offer with 56 percent (5,307 to 4,179).

As it stands, union leaders believe Tulsa workers will not have a contract when a judge rules on the airline's bankruptcy on or after June 6. At that point, American can start laying off as many people as they want.

Local union leaders believe a judge will throw out the contracts of Tulsa's workers on or before the June 6 court appearance, which would give way to potential layoffs for thousands of local workers.

The bargaining units that voted to accept the contract will see no changes to their employment status, wages or working conditions until after the court rules on America's motion to reject collective bargaining agreements to break labor agreements.

American Airlines is seeking $1.25 billion in cuts from all of its workers.

TWU and two other unions are supporting a potential merger between US Airways and American.  That merger would save roughly 1,000 addition jobs for TWU members over what was in the contract proposal's final offer. A total of 9,000 jobs nationwide were at risk.

The merger with US Airways would maintain ground operations in 30 cities with staffing by TWU represented ground workers and provide protections for American's Tulsa maintenance facility, along with other improvements.

Meanwhile, attorneys for TWU will begin arguing that the terms of the contract offer were overreaching.

Local union leaders believe a judge will throw out the contracts of Tulsa's workers on or before the June 6 court appearance, which would give way to potential layoffs for thousands of local workers.

"Immediately we know that their offer, if we turned down their offer, it was going to be 2,600 layoffs in Tulsa," said Rick Mullings, TWU representative. "That happens as fast as they find where that work is going to go, so I don't expect that over night people are going to be laid off, but they (American) are going to have the ability to contract out what they want."

Stay with KJRH.com as the results of the union vote are made available.

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