Wheels Up: An Airline Changes Direction

Change isn't easy. Just ask the workers and managers at American Airlines' sprawling maintenance facility in Tulsa. But faced with the choice -- change or lose their jobs to lower-cost plants overseas -- the Tulsa workers bit the bullet and changed the way they do business.

I spent a workday at the Tulsa facility, observing and talking to workers, executives and union leaders. I saw a vibrant workplace determined to succeed in this era of globalization. (You'll see just how determined they are on tonight's Evening News.) New ideas and new practices are invited from the worker on the line and the executive in the front office. One example: I saw a machine to re-sharpen tools that a worker designed and made with a motor from his daughter's science project. That one machine saves American Airlines tens-of-thousands of dollars annually.

We hear so often that U.S. industrial workers are on the losing end of globalization. The workers and managers at American's Tulsa plant seem determined to be winners.