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.


 
 

 

Pratt & Whitney, U.S. Air Force complete qualification for F135 engine testing

Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. , together with its U.S. Air Force partner at the F135 Heavy Maintenance Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., celebrated another significant milestone qualification for F135 engine testing at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. OC-ALC which in addition to engine testing is also qualified to perform...
 
 

Raytheon begins building critical components for AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radar

The Missile Defense Agency will soon have greater agility and capability in its fleet of AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radars. Raytheon has begun construction of two major sub-components of the AN/TPY-2 under a $53 million contract announced by the Department of Defense on Sept 2. The units Raytheon is building will enable the MDA to...
 
 

Honeywell, Thales to offer next-gen high-speed in-flight connectivity to A350XWB

Honeywell Aerospace and Thales will work together to integrate Honeywell JetWave hardware with Thales cabin network solutions for Airbus A350XWB and other commercial aircraft. The combined offering will give commercial airline operators and their passengers the same connectivity experience in-flight as they would have at home or work ó enabling real-time TV channel viewing, live...
 

 

U.S. Navy awards General Dynamics $16 million for F/A-18 mission computers

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, has been awarded a $16.2 million contract by the U.S. Navy to produce Type-3 Advanced Mission Computers for the F/A-18 E/A-18G Super Hornet aircraft. Since 2002 General Dynamics has produced, tested and delivered the F/A-18 AMC, which serves as the nerve center of the...
 
 

Boeing, DLA partnership will improve war fighter logistics support

Boeing has received a $293 million performance-based contract from the Defense Logistics Agency to provide aircraft parts and support that will enable DLA to provide essential logistics support to warfighters more quickly and effectively. Boeing proposed a holistic partnership and transformational approach that fundamentally changes the way DLA and Boeing do business,î said Julie Praiss,...
 
 
NG-people

Northrop Grumman appoints vice president

Northrop Grumman has announced the appointment of Tarik Reyes as vice president, business development for its integrated air and missile defense division in its Information Systems sector, effective immediately. In this new rol...
 




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>