Pratt & Whitney has informed IAM District 26 in Kensington, CT that the company plans to cut 129 hourly jobs at their Overhaul & Repair center in Cheshire, CT.
These layoffs coincide with Pratt’s original plan for emptying the plant prior to contract negotiations – a plan that was ruled illegal by the District Court and barred by an injunction. IAM leaders will be conferring with their attorneys as to whether these proposed layoffs represent actions by Pratt in contempt of the court’s decision.
“We are prepared to defend our rights, and our members’ jobs, by whatever means are possible. If that means going back to court, we’ll be there,” said District 26 DBR Everett Corey. “We know that it will definitely mean being ready to fight in the contract negotiations coming up.”
The IAM questions the planned job cuts, given the current work schedule at the facility. Hourly employees have been working 10 hours a day, instead of the normal eight hour shift, and have been asked to come in on Saturdays and Sundays as well.
The union also questions why the Cheshire facility will not consider the use of furloughs rather than the drastic step of permanent layoffs. Furloughs have been utilized in both the Middletown and East Hartford plants in order to address work downturns without resorting to permanent layoffs.
“If the company acts reasonably, we can avoid any permanent layoffs at this time. Cheshire workers continue to work hard and deliver record profits,” said District 26 Assistant DBR Jim Parent. “This is no way to reward their remarkable efforts under difficult circumstances.”