Pratt Case Awaits Judge’s Decision

The IAM’s lawsuit to preserve more than 1,000 jobs at Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut entered its final phase last week when attorneys for the IAM and the company filed final briefs for closing arguments. The case is now in the hands of U.S. District Judge Janet Hall, who oversaw the five-day trial.

The IAM filed the suit alleging Pratt did not “make every reasonable effort” to keep jobs in Connecticut as required in the IAM contract with the company. Pratt is trying to close an engine overhaul facility in Cheshire, CT and the Connecticut Airfoil and Repair Operations center (CARO) in East Hartford, CT and move the work to Columbus, GA, Singapore and Japan.

During the trial, the Hartford Courant reports that “lawyers for the union established that all or nearly all of Pratt’s top executives were committed to closing the plants as early as January 15, 2009 – more than seven months before workers were told of the possibility” and that a “Pratt executive testified that the company deliberately concealed those plans from workers, even when asked about rumors of them in early 2009.”

Connecticut State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal also filed a brief in support of the Machinists union. “Pratt was contractually obligated to undertake every reasonable effort to preserve these Connecticut jobs,” the brief says, as reported on LegalNewsline. “The State and the Union have asserted throughout this matter – and the evidence has now conclusively shown – that Pratt failed in this duty.

“Pratt should not be permitted to eliminate jobs, causing harm to Connecticut’s economy and profound financial distress to hundreds of families, in violation of its binding contractual promises to its workers.”

Judge Hall is expected to make a final ruling by the end of the month.