AA mechanics don't support Prop 2


The other afternoon I had an interesting phone call with Grizz Lee, an officer in the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) local at the American Airlines maintenance base. Grizz told me that he and several other union officials oppose all four sales tax increases, including Proposition 2, which would give money to American Airlines. A lot of the rank and file workers feel the same way.

Here's the main reason: AA workers have taken pay cuts ranging from 10% to 30%. Workers feel they've sacrificed enough. They don't want to pay higher sales taxes on top of the concessions they've already made. And American Airlines has made no promises about what it will do if it gets this $22.3 million. AA hasn't promised to stay, hasn't promised to halt layoffs, hasn't promised to call back laid-off workers, and hasn't promised to restore the pay and benefits the workers gave up. AA also hasn't threatened to leave if we don't give it to them. The rank and file at AA figure that AA management has plenty of money to mismanage already -- why raise our taxes to give management more money to waste? (Waste on things like arena naming rights in Dallas and Miami -- over $200 million.)

I've heard from many AA employees -- both management and rank and file -- that there is no chance AA will leave Tulsa. AA has a huge capital investment here, and some facilities that would be prohibitively expensive or impossible to reproduce elsewhere. One is their turbine facility -- it would cost $1 billion to rebuild it somewhere else. Another is an injection well for waste disposal. It saves AA a lot of money to be able to send waste down to a pocket deep in the earth, rather than through a more expensive method. This well is grandfathered in by the EPA -- AA couldn't build a new one in another location.

One AA flight attendant notes that AA can't even put an engine on a plane for the $22.3 million we'll pay them.

And we also hear that some mechanics resent being pulled off the production line to assemble "vote yes" signs on company time.

Tulsa has already done a lot to help American Airlines. Thursday night, the City Council approved the last of $8 million in incentives -- including lower water rates and a new sewer line. And if American does bring new jobs to Tulsa from another maintenance base, they would qualify for the Quality Jobs program incentives, worth up to five percent of their expanded payroll.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 7, 2003 5:44 PM.

On the arena: Fisking the Whirled was the previous entry in this blog.

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