Union Fights to Keep 1,000 Jobs in State

     HARTFORD (CN) – The machinists union asked a federal judge to stop Pratt & Whitney from moving 1,000 jobs out of Connecticut. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers accuses the jet engine maker of negotiating in bad faith.

     United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney – which is a single company – announced this week that it will shut its Cheshire plant by early 2011 and will begin closing its East Hartford repair facility in the second quarter of next year.
     The work will be relocated to a plant in Columbus, Ga., and to Singapore and Japan.
The machinists union claims in Federal Court that the company violated a union contract that expires in December 2010 by failing to preserve jobs in Connecticut, where the company is headquartered.
Days before the announcement of the closing of the Cheshire plant, Pratt and Whitney told workers it was a record year for earnings and thanked workers for making June 2009 a record month for revenue – $110 million, according to the complaint.
In July the union exercised its rights under the labor agreement and asked to meet and confer with the jet engine makers over its decision to close the plants.
Pratt & Whitney told the union it could save $53.8 million a year by closing the two plants and relocating the work.
On Sept. 3, Connecticut announced it would offer the company $20 million a year for the next five years to keep the jobs in Connecticut.
On Sept. 11, the union offered $48.8 million in concessions, including substantial pay cuts, no raises, and no promises of job security.
The union’s final offer would have provided the company with $52 million in what the company called “hard dollars” and $29.2 million in other savings, a total of $81.2 million in annual savings. In return the union asked that the company preserve the work until Dec. 5, 2010.
But Pratt & Whitney wouldn’t do it. It said it will start moving the jobs out of state in January 2010. The union says the jet engine maker did not make “every reasonable effort” to preserve the work at the two plants. The union wants the company enjoined from exporting the jobs out of Connecticut. It is represented by Gregg Adler with Livingston, Adler & Pulda,

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