Jobs Fight at Pratt Gets National Attention

CBS Evening News this week featured the efforts by IAM and its members to preserve more than 1,000 jobs at a pair of Pratt & Whitney facilities in Connecticut which the aerospace company says are not profitable enough to remain open.

The news segment, Fighting Closure in Connecticut, is part of a larger look at the jobs crisis facing the nation, where unemployment and underemployment affects nearly 30 million Americans.

The CBS story about Pratt includes a photo essay and comments from Connecticut IAM members who made Pratt & Whitney one of the largest and most successful aerospace companies in the world.

“There’s going to be a lot of people losing their jobs when our plant closes,” said Estella Pesapane, who is quoted in the CBS story. “There’s a thousand of us but there’s a ton of people who work around our plant, like restaurants and stores. That’s at least another 4,000 people. People don’t think about this kind of stuff unless it happens to them. People need to pay attention to what’s happening in this country.”

Despite billions in U.S. defense contracts (paid for by U.S. taxpayers), Pratt & Whitney claims it has no choice but to move jobs from Connecticut to low-cost Asian locations, in order to be closer, they say, to a new and growing customer base.

In addition to requesting assistance from President Obama, the IAM filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the shutdown, arguing that Pratt failed to honor its contract with the Machinists, which requires Pratt to make every reasonable effort to keep the facilities open.