|District 26 Business Representative Mike Stone, CT AFL-CIO President John Olsen, LL743 Committee Members: Bob MacLean, Tom Skinner, Larry Brooks, LL743 Vice President Tony Walter, LL743 President Mark Hebert, District 26 DBR Everett Corey, District 26 ADBR James Parent, IAM Grand Lodge Representative Bill Rudis, Aerospace Coordinator Terry Smith, LL743 Committee Members: Renee’ MacLean (alternate), Karen Blanchard and Steve Dumond.|
The IAM and United Technologies Corp. (UTC) squared off recently at a hotel in East Hartford, CT, to exchange initial contract proposals for a new agreement covering more than 1,000 members of Local 743. The members work at UTC’s Hamilton Sunstrand plant in Windsor Locks, CT.
The talks get under way in the shadow of a separate battle to protect 1,000 IAM jobs at a pair of UTC facilities in Cheshire and East Hartford, CT. Machinists prevailed in that fight to keep the plants open when a federal judge ruled that Pratt & Whitney failed to honor contract language that required the company to make “every reasonable effort” to work with the union to avoid closing the facilities.
Top issues for the workers at Hamilton Sunstrand, who produce the space suits used by NASA astronauts, include pensions, health care and job security language similar to the terms that helped protect Machinists’ jobs at the Cheshire and East Hartford facilities.
Job security is a critical issue for Connecticut’s aerospace workers, following widely reported comments by UTC executives who derided Connecticut to Wall Street analysts as a “high cost” location to do business. UTC earned nearly $4 billion last year and has prospered for decades from generations of highly-skilled Connecticut workers.
The disparaging remarks by United Technologies Corp.’s chief financial officer, Gregory Hayes, triggered outrage among workers and lawmakers throughout Connecticut, who have regularly supported UTC whenever a major defense contract was on the line.