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.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

B61 undergoes testing in AEDC wind tunnel

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend Arnold Engineering Development Complex engineers recently joined researchers with Sandia National Laboratories to perform a wind tunnel test on a full-scale mock-up B61. Pictured with the...
 
 

Ingalls Shipbuilding awarded $23.5 million LHA 8 affordability contract

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division has been awarded an affordability design contract for $23.5 million for early industry involvement to reduce the construction and life-cycle cost for the amphibious assault ship LHA 8. “Ingalls Shipbuilding has been constructing large-deck amphibious ships for nearly 50 years, and this contract will build on our company...
 
 

Lockheed Martin on team to provide ISS mission planning support

As part of an SGT, Inc.-led team, Lockheed Martin will provide mission and flight crew operations support to NASA for the International Space Station and future human space exploration. These support services within the Integrated Mission Operations Contract II are critical to the safe operation of all NASA human spaceflight missions. Under IMOC II, Lockheed...
 

 
boeing-israel

Boeing, Jordache’s MG Aviation finalize order for two 787-9 Dreamliners

Boeing and MG Aviation Limited July 16 finalized an order for two additional 787-9 Dreamliners, valued at $499 million at current list prices. The order will support the leasing company’s growing fleet of modern airplanes...
 
 

ASL Aviation Group to procure LM-100J freighters

ASL Aviation Group signed a Letter of Intent with Lockheed Martin to order up to 10 LM-100J commercial freighters during a ceremony in Farnborough, England, July 16. The LM-100J is the civil-certified version of Lockheed Martin’s proven C-130J Super Hercules and is an updated version of the L-100 (or L-382) cargo aircraft. Safair — an...
 
 

ATK, Alenia Aermacchi complete testing on Italian Air Force C-27J

ATK has announced that the ATK and Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi have successfully completed the first phase of ground and flight testing of the fully configured multi-mission MC-27J tactical transport aircraft with the support of the Italian Air Force. The series of tests exceeded all test objectives and demonstrated the accuracy of ATK’s side-mounted GAU-23 30mm cannon....
 




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>