Wednesday marked the opening of pivotal contract talks between IAM Local 700 and Local 1746 and Pratt and Whitney management in Cromwell, CT.
IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr., Aerospace General Vice President Mark Blondin, and Eastern Territory General Vice President Brian Bryant joined the Locals’ bargaining committees to open contract talks for the agreement, which expires on May 1 2022.
Representing nearly 3,000 members at Middletown and East Hartford, CT, these IAM members produce and maintain jet aircraft engines for military and commercial jets such as the KC-46 air refueling tanker, F-35 joint strike fighter, and the A320 commercial airliner.
“One thing we have heard over and over from our membership is they demand job security,” said Martinez. “Our team has prepared for months for these negotiations, and the continual focus on protecting and growing the workforce in Connecticut is paramount. Many of our members are military veterans – and are extremely proud of the work they do. The members at Pratt and Whitney are the single greatest reason for this company’s success. These jobs must stay here in Connecticut.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pratt and Whitney workforce suffered a 13% reduction in staff even though sales increased by over $1 billion from 2020 to 2021. RTX (Raytheon), of which Pratt and Whitney is a segment, has continually increased sales from 34.7 in 2018 to 64.4 billion dollars in 2021. Additionally, in 2021 members helped increase Pratt and Whitney’s backlog to $85 billion, the largest in Raytheon’s portfolio and a sizeable $5 billion in profit in the same year.
“Our brothers and sisters here at Pratt and Whitney are some of the highest skilled in the country. And with those skills, they placed their safety and their family’s safety on the line for the last two years. Ensuring success for this company,” said Blondin. “It’s time for Pratt and Whitney’s management to realize the same and offer an agreement with a robust pension and job security.”
In 2016 the membership accepted a strong 5.5-year agreement after the company’s initial offer provided:
- Weakened job security protections.
- New job descriptions covering entry-level work.
- Numerous attacks on contract language.
Over five years later, the membership comes back to the table with many of the same concerns and a new facility in North Carolina that currently completes some of the work in Connecticut.
“Our members stepped up during the pandemic,” said Bryant. “This team here at the table has our full support and resources at their disposal. We must come to a fair agreement.”
In December last year, both negotiating committees attended the W3 Centers’ Negotiation Prep class. The intense week-long course focused on honing their negotiation skills, including communications, strategic planning, and more.
In addition to negotiation prep, the International President has committed the resources of the IAM Grand Lodge, including the Legal, Strategic Resources, Communications, Political and Legislative departments, and others. Therefore, the negotiating committee and the members of both locals will have all the necessary tools at their disposal.
“We are coming to the table with Pratt and Whitney to collectively bargain a strong agreement with the needs of our membership at hand,” said Jeff Santini, IAM District 26 Assistant Directing Business Representative and Chief Negotiator. “We thank IP Martinez, GVP Bryant, and GVP Blondin for being here today with support and unity.”