IAM members employed at two Pratt & Whitney sites in Connecticut ratified a new agreement with the company early this week. The new three-year accord covers about 2,800 employees at plants in Middletown and East Hartford, CT.
The agreement includes annual wage increases of 2.5 percent per year over the life of the agreement, as well as increases in employer contributions to workers’ pension and savings plans. The pension plan will see a $7 increase in employees’ monthly pension benefit up to $72 per month, per year of service, and the 401(k) plan includes a $6 increase, or 9 percent, in weekly company contributions.
The deal also holds the line on health care costs, freezing employee out-of-pocket costs for medical benefits until 2015. After 2015 there will be moderate increases in employee out-of-pocket costs tied to medical benefits, such as copayments and premiums.
“The Negotiating Committee had full support of the membership during these talks,” said District 26 Assistant Directing Business Representative and Chief Negotiator Mike Stone. “Their actions on the shop floor allowed the committee to dig in and oppose the company’s take-away negotiating style.”
In the final days of negotiations members marched through the factory, shouting “solidarity forever” and blowing whistles, to show their support.
Pratt had opened negotiations by proposing to contract out as many as 250 jobs along with extreme cuts across the board. “Our members made it very clear that job security was an important issue going into these negotiations,” said Stone. “With strong support from the membership, the negotiating committee was able to beat back the assault on their jobs and greatly limit the impact. As a result, none of our members will face layoff before 2015 and we succeeded in negotiating a special separation program with incentives and training.”
Under the voluntary program workers who choose to leave the company would receive one week of pay per year of service, a $10,000 lump sum and medical and dental insurance at no cost for 12 months. Members not accepting the voluntary offer would be eligible for training and placement within the company.
“District and Local Lodge Representatives will work together vigilantly to ensure the company meets all of its commitments to train and employ any displaced members,” said District 26 Directing Business Representative Everett Corey. “Pratt & Whitney has demonstrated in the past that making a commitment is one thing, living up to it is another. Our resolve will be to enforce the agreement and ensure they meet those commitments to our members.”