Just two weeks after a federal judge issued an injunction against Pratt & Whitney to keep them from closing the Cheshire and East Hartford CARO plants in Connecticut, the company announced that it intends to lay off 119 workers at Cheshire and 44 in East Hartford. Pratt President David Hess then announced that the company would be appealing the court decision on their failure to make any effort to preserve Connecticut jobs.
Under the IAM contract, Pratt is supposed to survey for volunteers before layoffs begin. But Pratt did not give union representatives any opportunity to suggest alternatives to layoffs, even though workers are being brought in on overtime in the same areas the company claims there is a “lack of work.”
After Pratt announced last July that they were closing the two plants and moving the work to Singapore, Japan and Georgia, the IAM won an injunction in federal court after showing that Pratt had violated the IAM contract’s provision to “make every reasonable effort” to keep work in Connecticut. During the trial, evidence was presented that the company planned to claim a downturn in aerospace as an excuse for cutting Connecticut jobs. Pratt’s layoff announcement, with no discussion of alternatives, seems to defy the court’s ruling, and indicates company executives didn’t learn any lessons from the trial.
“The top brass of Pratt & UTC were caught in lie after lie during the court trial. They should have owned up to their mistakes and sat down with us,” said Everett Corey, IAM District 26 Directing Business Representative (DBR). “Instead, they think they can save face by punishing workers. It’s outrageous. If they want a fight, they will get one.”
“My message to Pratt is simple: ‘work with us to save jobs,’” said James Parent, District 26 Assistant DBR. “The same people who orchestrated the plant-closing fiasco for Pratt are pushing these layoffs. If they want to start cutting jobs, that’s the people they should start with.”