Teamsters gain support from Tulsa's A.A. union workers

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Updated: 2/18/2013 9:04 am Published: 2/16/2013 4:12 pm

The battle to represent one of Tulsa’s largest employers intensifies.

As details of the American Airlines merger with US Airways is ironed out the Teamsters Union is gaining majority support from Tulsa mechanics.

Leaders with the local Transports Workers Union representing Tulsa's American Airline mechanics say the Teamsters Union needs to back off.

Teamsters met with Tulsa media on Saturday claiming they have majority support from 14 of the 30 American Airline mechanics across the country.

"Once we win this election it will be a huge, huge thing for all aviation mechanics for us to move forward,” said Chris Moore, representative of the Teamsters Airline Division and Chairman of the Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition.

Teamsters are canvassing Tulsa, encouraging union workers to ask for new representation.

Moore says with the majority of support from Tulsa’s AA base they are one step closer to filing for an election.

He wouldn’t say when but less than six months, “very, very, close.”

"I've been waiting for this for a long time,” said Joe Moberly.

He is a 24-year-veteran with Tulsa’s American Airlines hub who says he and other mechanics reached out to the Teamsters.

“I know it's going to be close and I know it's not going to be long now. I'm ready for some change,” said Moberly.

Change that the Transport Workers Union 514 Chairman for Mechanics says won’t be good for families.

"They are going to see that the promises the Teamsters are making have not been able to carry out those promises at other airlines where they represent mechanics," said John Hewitt.

He fears the Teamsters will hurt Tulsa by outsourcing work to China.

So they’ll continue to lobby workers for support.

"We keep the heavy maintenance in Tulsa and that's very important," said Hewitt.

TWU says it has a 60-year-track record of saving jobs and wages. Through the merger less than a 1,000 employees are expected to be laid off.

Teamsters say they will continue the campaign by knocking on doors to gain support but wouldn’t give specifics on what they are offering union workers.

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