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American Airlines' Stock Slide

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At Local 514, the spirit of cooperation is sealed in a bronze handshake, and accommodations in the lobby come in the form of first class seats.

How long have you worked for American? "21 years," said John Hewitt, chairman of maintenance. Talk of bankruptcy isn't new, but it still packs a wallop.

That would be a huge hit if..."Oh absolutely, absolutely, if bankruptcy was to be where the company ended up going it would have a major affect on Tulsa," he said.

In addition to the thousands of direct jobs, American spends an estimated $72 million for goods and services with local vendors, and has an overall impact on the local economy of $2.6 billion.

"It's really a match made in heaven," said Tulsa city councilor Bill Christiansen, in the aviation industry himself, touting American's ongoing integral role in the fabric of Tulsa.

"It's a great partnership, you remember American Airlines just gave Tulsa Technology center the MD-80 that they use for maintenance training, and teaching mechanics to be airplane mechanics, so it's a great relationship," he said.

That talk of bankruptcy? It didn't come from inside the company. In fact it was generated by analysts and the media, with concerns that American has lost money, and that bankruptcy could help them straighten out. But management, for example, hasn't used it as a card in labor contract negotiations that have been going on for 3 years.

"Is the bankruptcy threat being used as a tool to say hey guys lets get this contract done? No, when I've been at the negotiating table the company has not brought bankruptcy into that room, they have not brought it up at all," said Hewitt.

And the stock dropping by 1/3, another analyst called that "a tremendous overreaction." The hazards of bad press, giving American a black eye, and causing Tulsa's heartbeat to skip.

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