TULSA — The nearly 800 Tulsa employees of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group know they have jobs for at least the next four months.
But that's the only guarantee they've been offered after Hertz Global Holdings agreed to pay $2.3 billion for Dollar Thrifty.
Hertz agreed to not engage in layoffs — other than firing someone for cause — at Dollar Thrifty's Tulsa headquarters basically for the remainder of the year. The company also agreed to “maintain the workforces” at the Tulsa headquarters for at least six months, according to regulatory filings.
Jim Fram, senior vice president of economic development for the Tulsa Metro Chamber, said the long courtship of Dollar Thrifty by Hertz and others offered ample opportunity to prepare for the sale. “Our goal all along is to be as aggressive as we can with Hertz to show some of the attributes of the state of Oklahoma, of northeast Oklahoma and Tulsa in keeping as much of this workforce here as we can,” Fram said.
Hertz CEO Mark Frissora said combining the companies will produce annual savings of about $160 million. Such savings often come in the form of layoffs in merger and acquisition deals. However, Frissora, in a conference call Monday, focused more on fleet costs, IT system integration and procurement savings.
“We are also excited to welcome Dollar Thrifty's employees to our team,” Frissora said.
The Tulsa Metro Chamber said Dollar Thrifty provides $100 million in payroll to its local employees and in local services outsourced. These direct jobs also support an additional 2,755 indirect jobs in the region, the chamber said.
Fram said Tulsa has been the “center of the universe of the auto rental business” with a population of experienced people who understand the industry.
The state and the city also may be able to offer incentives to Hertz to keep jobs in Tulsa, Fram said.
Dollar Thrifty CEO Scott Thompson, in an email to employees, said some jobs will be lost but offered no further details.
Tulsa also will be losing the headquarters of a company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange.
But Fram said he and others won't give up without a fight: “If out of those 780 employees, we keep 750 of those jobs here, we're going to chalk that up as a win.”