District 26 Locals Prepare for Pratt & Whitney Negotiations

Members of Local Lodges 700, 1746 and 1746-A attend class at the Winpisinger Center to prepare for upcoming negotiations with Pratt & Whitney.

Negotiating Committees and Lodge Presidents of Locals 700, 1746 and 1746-A in Connecticut, along with staff members from District 26 and the Grand Lodge, participated in the Negotiation Preparation for Bargaining Committees program at the William W. Winpisinger Center in Hollywood, MD. The Locals represent approximately 3,700 employees at Pratt & Whitney, which manufactures, assembles, tests and overhauls jet engines and components at three locations in Connecticut.

The current contract with Pratt & Whitney expires December 5, 2010. Recognizing that this promises to be the most difficult round of negotiations in the 65-year bargaining history,the Committee strategized to defeat the company’s attack on jobs and to build solidarity in the bargaining unit.

“The week at the Winpisinger Center – though it was a bit like drinking from a fire hose – gave us the opportunity to assemble and develop a detailed plan to secure the best contract possible,” said District 26 ADBR and chief spokesperson Jim Parent. “The Committee worked hard, and they leave the Center better prepared today than ever.”

In 2009, Pratt & Whitney announced plans to potentially close the entire Cheshire plant as well as the CARO unit in East Hartford and move the bulk of that work to joint ventures in Singapore and Japan, directly impacting over 800 bargaining unit members and approximately 200 non-bargaining unit employees. Thanks to strong anti-outsourcing language in the current contract, the IAM prevailed in federal court, preventing Pratt from moving that work.

“These negotiations will be tough,” remarked Parent. “We face an adversary determined to take good paying, middle-class jobs out of Connecticut. We’re going to fight like hell, not just to keep the jobs we have, but to grow the number of jobs at Pratt for the future of our children and grandchildren.”