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Pratt & Whitney President Testifies on Last Day of Trial
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Pratt & Whitney’s top executive has testified that the company has no choice but to close two repair plants in Connecticut, with the loss of a thousand jobs.  But he denied the company pre-determined the decision before talks with the union.  WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

David Hess, the President of Pratt & Whitney, took the stand Wednesday on the last day of evidence in this trial in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport.  The International Association of Machinists is trying to prove that the company would be in breach of contract if it closes jet engine repair facilities in Cheshire and East Hartford, because they failed to make every effort to keep the work in Connecticut. 

Hess testified that the plants were marginally profitable, and said offers of financial help by the state and givebacks by the union fell short of what would be needed to keep the facilities open.  The company announced in September it would close the plants, after several weeks of talks with union reps.  It intends to move the work to Georgia, Singapore and Japan.  Hess described Pratt in 2009 as facing its biggest financial challenge since World War II.  But he contradicted previous testimony by the company’s president for commercial engines, who told the court the decision to close the plants was made by mid-January.  Judge Janet Hall is expected to give her ruling in the case before the end of this month.

For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.