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.


 
 

 

Lockheed Martin Australia to deliver modern, affordable C-130J training solutions to RAAF

The Royal Australian Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin Australia a contract to supply a modern C-130J-30 Virtual Maintenance Trainer and a Multi-Function Training Aid to support maintenance and aircrew training at RAAF Base Richmond. Through this major upgrade, the RAAF will have a standardized curriculum tailored for its operations and based on decades of...
 
 

Raytheon awarded U.S. Air Force aircraft integration, life cycle technical support contract

Raytheon has been awarded a $35 million sole-source contract by the U.S. Air Force to provide aircraft integration and life-cycle technical support on an advanced bomb carriage and release system for aircraft. The advanced system will allow both the Air Force and U.S. Navy to perform more missions utilizing less aircraft. “JMM BRU end users...
 
 

General Dynamics UK completes review for SCOUT reconnaissance variant

OAKDALE, South Wales – General Dynamics UK has successfully completed the Critical Design Review for the SCOUT Reconnaissance variant, as part of the SCOUT Specialist Vehicle program. The completion of the SCOUT Reconnaissance variant CDR is a significant marker in the SCOUT SV program, with the first SCOUT Reconnaissance pre-production prototype to be completed later...
 

 

Boeing, Royal Australian Air Force test extended range weapon

The Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended Range demonstrated significant range increase while maintaining its expected accuracy during flight testing conducted by Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force. The testing centered on a new wing kit that, when used in conjunction with the weaponís guidance kit, increases the bomb’s range from approximately 15 miles...
 
 

DRS Technologies to provide comm systems for Royal New Zealand Navy frigates

DRS Technologies Inc., a Finmeccanica Company, announced Feb. 25 that its Canadian subsidiary will be providing tactical integrated communications systems to the New Zealand Ministry of Defense for the Royal New Zealand Navy’s ANZAC-class frigates. This subcontract was awarded to DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. in support of a communications modernization contract from Lockheed Martin Canada...
 
 

Northrop Grumman LITENING achieves two million operating hour milestone

In the life cycle of every military system, some milestones stand out as signature achievements. One million operating hours is one of them – and Northrop Grumman’s fielded AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING pods have hit that number for the second time. “This is a significant milestone for the LITENING program and our team is proud to be...
 




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>