The Transport Workers Union Local 514 in Tulsa is fighting to keep more than 230 maintenance control technician positions and related jobs in Tulsa, after American Airlines told them of plans to move the employees to Dallas.
The union says the job relocation would equate to the loss of about $14.6 million in combined wages from the local economy.
Union leaders are calling on elected state and local leaders to step up and appeal to American Airlines to keep the jobs in Tulsa.
"It's disheartening," American Airlines maintenance control technician Jason Best said. "Our family has established a home here, as well as the majority of the 230 that's here."
Best said he's thankful he will still have a job, but is dreading the possibility of having to move his wife and four children away from home.
TWU Local 514 president Same Cirri says the rest of the Tulsa community would also feel the effects of the transfer.
"You have the places you shop at in the community," Cirri said. "They're going to lose business on top of it. And that's why we're saying that... $14.6 million circulates through this community. That would be gone."
Tulsa City Councilor Jack Henderson says keeping these jobs in Tulsa is now a top priority, especially after American Airlines accepted more than $30 million in state and local incentives to keep, and even add jobs here.
"I know American has got to make some tough decisions, but we made some tough decisions when we decided to make sure that they got the money to keep these jobs," Henderson said.
"I want my kids to grow up in a nice community, where there's good schools, and you don't have to worry about a lot of issues that other major cities have," Best said. "I mean, Tulsa is a small enough city... it's a city, but yet it's still small enough to be a big town."
American Airlines spokesperson Missy Cousino released the following statement about the possible job transfers:
"American Airlines announced last year we were looking at moving the Maintenance Operations Center (MOC) from Tulsa, Okla., to Dallas/Fort Worth to be housed with the Systems Operations Control (SOC). Our competitors all use this integrated approach and we believe locating the MOC and SOC together could possibly improve communications between the two as well as increase productivity, reliability and enhance customer service by focusing on our on-time performance.
It’s important to remember no decision has been made yet and we are still evaluating industry best practices, operational costs/benefits and the obstacles and risks associated with this change
We are committed to our operations in Tulsa and have added several hundred jobs in recent months to accommodate an increase in in-house maintenance work."
Click here for more information on the Transport Workers Union Local 514, and how you can help them stop American Airlines from sending jobs to Dallas.