Union negotiators and the state of Connecticut are offering millions of dollars in savings and tax breaks to Pratt & Whitney in an effort to save a thousand jobs in the state.
Jet engine maker Pratt has threatened to close two repair facilities in the state, one in Cheshire, the other in East Hartford, moving the work either south or overseas. These two offers Thursday from the International Association of Machinists and from state officials come just days before a deadline imposed by the company for a final decision. The union says it has found ways to save the company $63m in annual costs – the proposals include cutting pay for overtime and non-production related work, as well as increased productivity. But union rep John Harrity says the counterproposal from the company is very worrying.
"Management made demands upon the workers that are simply shocking in their breadth and in how deep they want to go. And that right now at the bargaining table the union is responding to those proposals by saying that in their present form they’re simply unacceptable."
Meanwhile, the state of Connecticut has offered a package of benefits worth $100m over 5 years. It would include the creation of a new job retention tax credit that would require the consent of the general assembly. The state also proposes to lift the 70% cap on corporation business tax credits for parent company United Technologies. Governor Jodi Rell says she felt it was essential to offer the package, despite Connecticut’s budget woes.
"The economic activity that comes with those jobs is about $26m a year, so we know that losing them would be a huge loss for the state. No dollars would be spent or authorized unless it is part of a job retention proposal. We want those jobs here, and we’re willing to step up to the plate."
Pratt & Whitney issued a statement thanking the Governor and state officials for their efforts to keep jobs in Connecticut, and saying the proposal would be given full consideration. The company also says it continues to meet with the union as Sunday’s deadline approaches.