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18_Latest News - February 2010

18_February 23, 2010
Pratt & Whitney to Lay Off 163 Conn. Workers Weeks After Losing Lawsuit Preventing Job Shifts
Los Angeles Times by Stepehn Singer, AP Business Writer

 

Pratt & Whitney plans to lay off 163 workers at two jet engine repair plants in Connecticut, the company said Tuesday, less than three weeks after a federal judge blocked it from transferring jobs out of the state.

The subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. said the layoffs, which represent about 20 percent of the jobs at its Cheshire and East Hartford facilities, are not related to the judge's Feb. 5 ruling.

The jet engine maker is responding to the steep downturn in the airline industry due to the recession, spokesman Greg Brostowicz said.

"This is related to volume," he said. "This is at the heart of the court case. We're very aware of the significant deterioration in the global aerospace market and the aftermarket."

A Machinists official said the union will remind company executives in a scheduled meeting Monday that Pratt & Whitney must comply with the ruling by U.S. District Judge Janet Hall.

"They have every obligation to preserve the jobs," said Wayne McCarthy, president of the Machinists' Cheshire local. "We're going to police her decision."

McCarthy dismissed the company's claims about a downturn in the airline industry. Employees at Cheshire have been working 10-hour days Monday through Friday and have worked some weekends, he said. In addition, jet engines were kept in the parking lot "because we have so much work inside."

Pratt & Whitney said 119 of the layoffs will be at Cheshire and 44 at East Hartford.

In her ruling, Hall strongly criticized Pratt & Whitney, saying it evaded the spirit of its union contract requiring it to make every effort to keep the jobs in the state.

Throughout the court hearings in December and January, company executives said work was lost due to the recession and the downturn in commercial aerospace.

The union has said its legal victory is temporary because it expects to go another round in the fight over job preservation when its contract with Pratt & Whitney expires Dec. 5.

Pratt & Whitney has scaled back operations in Connecticut since the 1960s, when more than 20,000 workers were employed. The company now employs 11,000 in Connecticut, fewer than one-third of its global work force.

Pratt & Whitney Canada, which manufacturers engines for private business jets, announced in September plans to lay off more than 400 workers as corporations slashed orders for planes.

 

 

 


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