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American Starts Layoffs in Tulsa, Spirit Closing McAlester Plant

American Airlines

Aviation industry layoffs hit northeastern Oklahoma on Thursday.

About 180 American Airlines employees in Tulsa are included in the company’s furloughs of 19,000 workers that started Thursday. Nearly all are from the maintenance base. When American announced the layoffs in August, Transport Workers Union Local 514 President Dale Danker said the company told representatives from across the country they expected to lay off 170 maintenance workers.

"I’ve later found out that, really, that 170 is not for all four bases. It’s just for Tulsa. So, Tulsa hired a lot. Other bases didn’t hire a lot," Danker said in a YouTube video.

Danker also questioned whether Tulsa needed to be hit harder than any of American’s other maintenance bases.

"There’s opportunities for work that they’re outsourcing that they could bring in to minimize this all the way down to zero, but the company is choosing not to do that at this time," Danker said.

Also announced Thursday, Spirit AeroSystems is closing its McAlester plant, citing a decreased demand for new aircraft amid a drop off in travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company will move work done there to Tulsa and Wichita. The number of workers who will be affected has not been released, but about 300 work in McAlester.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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