With a contract vote scheduled for this Sunday, December 4, approximately 3,000 Connecticut IAM members at Pratt & Whitney say it’s time they get their fair share from the flourishing jet-engine manufacturer. If the contract is rejected, a strike could begin as early as Monday.
“Reports from the shop indicate that members are on the move, voicing our collective demand for an historic contract that matches this unprecedented boom in orders for Pratt commercial and military engines,” says a Negotiating Committee newsletter this week.
The Manchester (CT) Journal-Inquirer reports “the company is on the cusp of a major production boom the likes of which hasn’t been seen since World War II.” Despite this, the company is seeking deep cuts from Local 700 and 1746 (District 26) members at its East Hartford and Middletown, CT plants.
Pratt and its parent company, United Technologies Corp., want to skyrocket member health insurance costs and strip new hires of a defined benefit pension plan. It has not yet proposed any pension or general wage increases for current employees.
“Even in the middle of boom times, Pratt cries poverty,” said a Negotiating Committee newsletter.
IAM Negotiators are also fighting a company proposal to a rewrite job descriptions and implement them over union objections, resulting in confusion and less pay for the same work.
“As I told Pratt at the beginning of these negotiations: do not underestimate the resolve of our members,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez. “I have their backs, and so do 600,000 IAM members across the U.S. and Canada. We will fight for what our members have earned, end of story.”
“The IAM Negotiating Committee has the tools and skills to bargain for the contract our members at Pratt & Whitney deserve,” said Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro, Sr. “They have the full support of the Eastern Territory and the entire IAM behind them as they enter the final stretch of these talks.”