Connecticut District 26 filed Unfair Labor Practice charges this week with the National Labor Relations Board over a decision by Pratt & Whitney to lay off 38 workers from the Cheshire overhaul and repair facility.
The cuts by Pratt & Whitney are being carried out even while workers are asked to work extra over-time hours during the week and on weekends. The company rejected the use of furloughs, which every other Pratt location in Connecticut has used to avoid permanent layoffs.
In a letter to Pratt & Whitney officials, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal appealed to the company. “I do not presume to second guess your business judgment or projections, but I do know that families and communities will suffer seriously and egregiously if employees are laid off during the harshest employment climate in decades,” said Blumenthal. “I respectfully urge you in the strongest terms to work with the union to take every available measure to seek cost savings without resort to lay-offs.”
The Machinists union sees this reduction as retaliation against Cheshire workers for filing a lawsuit against the company that resulted in an injunction forbidding Pratt from closing Cheshire or East Hartford’s CARO facility during the life of the contract.
Members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation last Friday personally reached out to top leaders of the company to request that permanent layoffs be avoided through the use of furloughs. The delegation has helped bring billions of dollars in government contracts to Pratt & Whitney and parent corporation United Technologies.