“Outrageous!” Anger Over Pratt's Closing Plans

Local machinist union says it's not getting the information it needs

The local machinists union that represents many Pratt and Whitney employees met with company officials Tuesday to discuss two possible closures.

Pratt and Whitney is considering closing its Cheshire Engine Center by early 2011 and to close an Airfoil and Repair Unit out of East Hartford by 2010.

The machinists union said the company is planning to move the work to Georgia and overseas, which would leave more than 1,000 workers without jobs and they have been working with the company to make sure that doesn’t happen.

"That is outrageous. It isn’t fair. It is wrong and we are going to turn it around with your help," U.S. Rep Rosa DeLauro, (D-3rd District) said.

DeLauro was fired up as she addressed a crowd of machinists at a news conference on Tuesday and vowed to fight to keep Pratt and Whitney jobs in Connecticut.

DeLauro was joined by her fellow lawmakers, who said it’s profitable for Connecticut and the company to continue doing business.

"I know that facility today in Cheshire is on pace to be 40 percent more profitable than it was this time last year," U.S. Rep Chris Murphy (D-5th District) said.

Union officials said Pratt and Whitney is not giving it the details it needs to negotiate. It wants detailed operation costs and information on what the company would need to stay in Connecticut.

"Pratt hasn’t come to the table and said, like they did in '93, 'Hey, we need this from the workers, we need this from the state or we’re getting out of the state,'" said Jim Parent, spokesman for IAM Local 1746.

In a statement, Pratt and Whitney said, "We are working together with the Union to evaluate how labor costs, quality and competitiveness might be addressed and to work together to identify feasible alternatives to moving the work outside of Connecticut."

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