Business

October 31, 2013

Jobs top issue in Pratt & Whitney-Machinists talks

As jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney and the Machinists Union begin negotiations Oct. 31 for a new contract governing pay, benefits, work rules and other conditions, the top issue will be jobs.

Neither company nor union representatives would discuss the issues expected to dominate negotiations. But union officials have said they may not recommend a contract for ratification without specific language about the number of jobs.

“If management does not come to the bargaining table with a commitment to keep our jobs in Connecticut, you will have a crucial decision to make,” the union said in a message on its website to members this summer. “If management continues to ignore covered work and past commitments, how can the committee recommend a contract?”

Pratt & Whitney employs about 32,000 workers worldwide, with about 15,000 in the United States. It has about 9,000 employees in Connecticut, with about 3,000 covered by the contract, the company said.

The battle over jobs is not new. Top-paid manufacturing jobs – at Pratt & Whitney or anywhere else – are increasingly scarce as manufacturers squeeze out productivity from fewer workers and find cost-cutting a principal source of boosting profit.

Most recently, Pratt & Whitney lost a legal battle in 2010 to shut down engine repair shops in East Hartford and Cheshire to cut labor costs and move jobs closer to customers. It eventually won at the bargaining table what it lost in federal court: closing the two plants and shifting hundreds of jobs to Columbus, Ga.; Singapore; and Japan. The union won concessions over severance pay for workers forced out.

In the first nine months of the year, Pratt & Whitney posted revenue of $10.4 billion, up 3 percent from the same period in 2012. Operating profit rose a far stronger 15 percent, to $1.4 billion in the nine-month period, as the company wrung out more productivity and reduced costs, including axing nearly 1,000 salaried and hourly jobs this year.

Pratt & Whitney President David Hess said in April that its military program likely will falter in the short term as the company transitions from military engines such as the F-22 that have ended production. However, engine orders are expected to pick up in a few years with an increase in production of joint strike fighter engines.

Teal Group aviation consultant Richard Aboulafia said United Technologies is “one of the very few” companies in the industry with a sizable manufacturing presence in the Northeast. He compared it to Boeing, which has a similarly large presence in the Northwest.

“There, too, you had the exact same confrontation with the union over moving jobs,” he said. “The best the union can do is find a compromise, to save jobs as best it can.”

Don Klepper-Smith, an economist who advised former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, said Connecticut and other Northeast states are finding it harder to compete for well-paid manufacturing jobs. An “aerospace cluster” is forming in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida where unions are scarcer and taxes and energy costs are lower, he said.

“We’re facing an uphill climb with respect to job creation,” he said.

David Cadden, a business professor at Quinnipiac University, said even if the Machinists win the immediate fight to keep jobs, the battle will continue.

“I think unfortunately in Connecticut you’re going to see more and more manufacturing jobs going offshore and to right-to-work states,” he said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 28, 2014

News: U.S. has lost track of weapons given to Afghanistan - The United States supplied almost three quarter of a million weapons to Afghanistan’s army and police since 2004, but the military cannot track where many of those arms have gone, a new report found. Bill to improve VA has $17 billion price tag - A bipartisan...
 
 

News Briefs July 28, 2014

Marines seek authorization for dolphin deaths The Marine Corps is asking for a five-year authorization from the National Marine Fisheries Service for incidental deaths of bottlenose dolphins during training exercises at a bombing and target range. The Sun Journal of New Bern, N.C., reports that Connie Barclay of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says...
 
 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 

 

Northrop Grumman awarded mission support services contract

The U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, with a potential value of $205 million, to continue providing mission logistics services in support of combat brigades training at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. The contract covers one base year and two one-year options. Support will include the full range of mission...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
NASA/JPL-Caltech image

NASA’s Mars spacecraft maneuvers to prepare for close comet flyby

NASA/JPL-Caltech image This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars. Its nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 m...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>