Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Airline Strike Threats Worry Tulsans

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Airline Strike Threats Worry Tulsans

Article excerpt

TULSA -- One firm prepared furlough letters, a suburb primed for 1,100 residents to lose their paychecks and thousands of American Airlines workers simply watched and waited Thursday.

With American Airlines pilots facing a Friday midnight strike deadline, anxieties were building in the home of the airline's largest maintenance base.

"I'm not very hopeful at all," said Marion Finley, president of Transportation Workers Union of America Local 514, which represents about half of American's 8,083 Tulsa workers. "It looks like a big snowball going downhill." Negotiations continued in Washington, and hopes began to rise when the pilots union told the company it would agree to lower salaries for pilots operating regional jets if the airline accepted other demands. But the company maintained that it could not be competitive if American pilots flew the American Eagle commuter routes. If pilots strike, most of the airline's Tulsa workers are expected to remain on the job at least through Feb. 28 to complete ongoing work. But for supporting businesses, the strike could have an immediate impact. Trase Miller Technologies, which handles reservations for the airline's Fly-Away vacations, would immediately furlough half of its 400-employee workforce if a strike takes place, officials said. "We hope and pray the strike does not occur," said Jim Barsch, vice president of call center operations. In the suburb of Owasso, city agencies were preparing to provide help for the approximately 1,100 American Airlines workers who live there. Teri Houdyshell, director of Volunteer Network Owasso, said the agency was coordinating with other assistance organizations to offer families support. "Basically, we'll monitor the demands as this situation evolves," she said. "We'll make decisions to expand services based on those needs. …

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