Washington, D.C., December 07, 2009 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today welcomed the unanimous support of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation in the fight to prevent Pratt & Whitney from closing a pair of aircraft factories in Connecticut and eliminating more than 1,000 high-skilled jobs.
In a joint letter to President Obama, the delegation took the unusual step of urging the president to become directly involved and “use every measure at your disposal” to block the decision by Pratt & Whitney to shutter the two factories and move many of the defense-related jobs to overseas locations.
“This is a jobs issue, a national defense issue and a matter of common sense,” said IAM Vice President Rich Michalski. “Too much of our manufacturing capability has already been sacrificed in the name of short-term corporate profits. If our economy is to recover, we must take extraordinary steps preserve the fundamental drivers of economic growth and there is no better example than Connecticut’s home grown defense industry.”
The letter to Obama, signed by Senators Christopher Dodd and Joe Lieberman as well as Representatives Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Joe Courtney, Christopher Murphy and Jim Himes, cited previous unsuccessful efforts to prevent the closure. “Since Pratt & Whitney first announced these closures in July, the workers at the affected plants have offered $80 million in concessions. Additionally, the Connecticut Congressional delegation worked closely with the State of Connecticut to come up with an additional $100 million to keep there plants open. Unfortunately, Pratt & Whitney’s parent corporation, United Technologies, has rejected these generous offers.”
The appeal to the president is the latest move in a state-wide campaign that has included widespread support from area labor unions, community groups and state officials, including Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who recently filed a friend of the court brief in support of an IAM lawsuit aimed at blocking the move.