A pair of developments in the volatile aerospace sector are being hailed for the multi-billion economic effects they bring to members and communities in at least six states.
Earlier this week, Machinists employed by Lockheed Martin at seven IAM Local Lodges in Georgia, California, Mississippi, Florida and West Virginia secured new four-year agreements that maintain health care costs while improving wages and retirement benefits for nearly 5,000 U.S.-based members.
The multi-site IAM-Lockheed contracts were vigorously negotiated and unanimously recommended by the union’s negotiating committee.
“We surveyed the membership prior to the negotiations and we were able to deliver on their primary concerns, which were preserving costs and choices in their current health care coverage,” said IAM Aerospace Coordinator Terry Smith. “These agreements bring stability and security for our members, as well as for Lockheed and the many vendors they engage for services and support.”
Meanwhile in Connecticut, IAM members at Pratt & Whitney (P&W) welcomed the announcement of an agreement between the State of Connecticut and P&W parent company United Technologies (UTC) that would secure P&W’s presence in the state for at least the next 20 years.
In exchange for up to $400 million in tax breaks and credits, UTC agrees to invest heavily in new facilities, including a new global headquarters for P&W in East Hartford, CT. The money also buys a ten-fold return of $4 billion in research and capital expenditures by UTC.
By some estimates, the incentives could support more than 14,000 UTC jobs, many of them IAM jobs, over the next two decades.
“Lockheed Martin, UTC and Pratt are major players in the North American aerospace market, where the IAM represents nearly 70,000 members,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “These two announcements acknowledge the value of a highly-skilled workforce and the importance of preserving these jobs for the next generation.”