|IAM Eastern Territory GVP Lynn Tucker Jr. spoke at the rally and pledged the union’s support for the embattled workers at Pratt: “We’ll be with you every step of the way in this fight,” declared Tucker.|
Hundreds of angry Pratt & Whitney workers rallied this week outside the company’s East Hartford, CT, plant before marching on the company headquarters, blasting the air with “Strike” whistles and chants of “Don’t Screw with 22!”
The slogan refers to the Job Security provisions in the IAM-Pratt contract, embodied in Letter 22. The letter commits the company to “make every reasonable effort” to preserve work in Connecticut rather than shipping it elsewhere.
IAM members paid dearly for that language, accepting more than $32 million in concessions in exchange for the Job Security provisions. The protections have proved their worth; twice in the last decade the IAM successfully sued Pratt in federal court and obtained injunctions preventing hundreds of jobs from being outsourced.
Contract negotiations are now under way, with a deadline of December 5. Management at Pratt is seeking to gut Letter 22, and close its Cheshire and CARO/East Hartford operations, eliminating 500 hourly jobs.
Speaker after speaker at the East Hartford rally condemned Pratt executives for abandoning dedicated workers and the United States — even while the US government remains Pratt’s biggest customer. As Connecticut Local 1746 President Juan Gelabert told the crowd, “These people would sell their mother’s soul for an extra buck. They should be ashamed of what they’re trying to do — sending military work to Singapore and Japan!”