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 June 29, 2015

News: SpaceX Falcon 9 explodes moments after launch – A SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station blew up June 28 shortly after liftoff.   Business: How serious a setback is SpaceX rocket explosion? – Elon Musk had never come face to face with that rule before — at least not in space travel —...
 
 

News Briefs June 29, 2015

Iraqi pilot in Arizona plane crash found dead Officials say the body of an Iraqi pilot who had been training in the United States and crashed in southern Arizona has been located. Iraq’s Defense Ministry said June 26 that search teams found the body of Brig. Gen. Rasid Mohammed Sadeeq at the crash site five...
 
 
Huntington Ingalls Industries photograph

PCU John Warner delivered to Navy

Huntington Ingalls Industries photograph A dolphin jumps in front of the Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John Warner (SSN 785) as the boat conducts sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. Navy ac...
 

 
navair-helo

HX-21 completes first flight with developmental electronic warfare pod

On June 8, 2015, a UH-1Y from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 completed the first test flight with a developmental electronic warfare pod.  The pod would represent a new tactical capability for U.S. Marine Corps rotar...
 
 

Northrop, Navy celebrate legacy of EA-6B Prowler

Northrop Grumman photograph by Edgar Mills The U.S. Navy’s last operational EA-6B Prowler, designed and built by Northrop Grumman, lifts off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. in a ceremonial fly-away June 27 from its long time operational base. The Navy is retiring the Prowler after nearly 45 years of service.   The U.S....
 
 
Air Force photograph by Capt. Tania Bryan

NORTHERN EDGE provides environment for testing new capabilities

Air Force photograph by Capt. Tania Bryan Aircraft from test and evaluation squadrons across the Air Force line up on the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson flightline. Northern Edge is Alaska’s premier joint training exercise d...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>