Job Cuts at American Airline's Overhaul Base Take Effect This Week

This will be the final week of work for nearly 500 employees at the American Airlines overhaul base, the second massive layoff at the facility in six months.

Blaming high fuel prices for mounting losses, American in April said it would reduce its hourly Kansas City work force in June. The company originally planned to furlough 513 employees, but union officials said last week the final count was 492.

Among the 492, 115 employees will retire and accept a severance package, said Gordon Clark, president of Transport Workers Union Local 530.

That will leave 377 employees who will take an involuntary layoff and receive a severance. Clark said only a handful will have enough seniority within Americans system to transfer to other locations.

Were going to have close to 300 people out on the street with recall rights, he said.

Employees who have worked as much 19 years for American and the former Trans World Airlines were affected by the furlough, Clark said.

The layoff comes after American laid off more than 400 hourly and salaried workers at the maintenance base in December. At that time, American laid off 223 hourly employees involuntarily.

Earlier this year, American signed a 25-year lease to operate the wide-body bay at the maintenance facility. Under the terms of the agreement, American must maintain employment of at least 700 workers to have renovations done to the facility and receive public assistance.

Clark said the base will have fewer than 900 employees at the end of the week. The base currently works on two types of aircraft, he said.

American is marketing its maintenance service to other airlines, and local union officials are hopeful that some of that work will be sent to Kansas City.