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Tulsa Mayor Bartlett Outlines Plan for Fight to Keep Williams Cos. in His City

Those layoffs carried out this week by Williams Cos. in Tulsa aren’t a surprise to Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett. But he says what is a surprise is how the Williams Companies might leave his city once its merger is completed with Dallas-based Energy Transfer Equity.

“This was something that was somewhat expected,” he said in response to a question about the Tuesday layoffs, “but the real big issue on the horizon is the dismantlement of Williams as a company and a very productive part of this community.”

Bartlett expressed surprise and anger last week when ETE revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the headquarters of Williams would be relocated to Dallas following completion of the merger. Wednesday, in an interview on News on 6 TV in Tulsa, mayor Bartlett had some words of support to Williams employees.

“I tell them this…we have to stand together, arm in arm and shoulder to shoulder, in a similar fashion when American Airlines announced their bankruptcy and there was a big concern they were going to shut down the maintenance facility and move to Texas,” answered Bartlett. “We stood up as a community. We did it very loudly and very politely, so we did it very directly and I think that’s what we’re going to have to do as well.”

A relocation of Williams Cos. headquarters to Dallas would mean the loss of nearly 900 workers following the layoff of 100 workers on Tuesday.

“We’re now trying to talk to the board of directors of Williams Companies, talk to them individually and relay to them our concern,” added Mayor Bartlett. “The questions are why, why now, why do a bad deal, why do something that will have a negative effect not only on the shareholders but also on this community?”

Listen to part of Mayor Bartlett’s interview on News on 6.

Click here for audio