IAM members at Pratt & Whitney are preparing for the next round in their battle to keep the jet engine maker from moving more than 1,000 jobs from Connecticut to low-cost locations in Georgia, Japan and Singapore.
Talks began this week between the IAM and Pratt for a contract to replace the current three-year agreement, which expires at midnight on Dec. 5. Top issue is preserving jobs at two facilities that Pratt has targeted for closure.
The current IAM contract contains language requiring Pratt to work with the union and consider options before closing the facilities or outsourcing existing Connecticut jobs. Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled that Pratt had not honored those terms and issued an injunction preventing the job cuts. An appeals court later upheld the decision.
“The court decision brought home the fact that UTC and Pratt leadership need to reconsider their plans,” said District 26 DBR Everett Corey. “They need to work with us, not against us, to keep Cheshire & CARO open. We’re prepared to reach agreement – or to fight it out – in contract negotiations. The ball is in the company’s court right now.”
Despite an offer of more than $100 million in incentives from the State of Connecticut and millions more in proposed savings from the IAM, Pratt & Whitney has made no secret that it still plans to close the facilities in Cheshire and East Hartford.
In a classic bit of corporate double-speak, Pratt offered this rationale for closing the two facilities: “Ensuring the long-term health and competitiveness of Pratt & Whitney is the best way to maintain good, high-paying jobs and also a bright future for our employees, their families and the state of Connecticut,” said the company.
Translation: To save Connecticut jobs, Pratt claims it must destroy Connecticut jobs.