A court has heard how a Pratt & Whitney repair plant began to lose work during the recession, leading to plans to close the facility. The union representing a thousand workers at plants in Cheshire and East Hartford is trying to prove that the company will be in breach of contract if it carries out closure plans. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.
The Hartford Courant reports that giving evidence in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Todd Kallman, President of Commercial Engines for Pratt spoke at length about the company’s workload. Kallman told the court that in late 2008, the jet engine repair plant in Cheshire began to lose contracts. UPS withdrew work, after Pratt missed a delivery target for repairs. Then Delta took over Northwest Airlines, and eliminated Northwest’s overhaul work that had been done in Connecticut. It’s the union’s contention that when its executives came to talks about the closure in late summer 2009, Pratt had already essentially made the decision to shutter Cheshire and East Hartford.
The International Association of Machinists has presented emails between company executives from early 2009 which show the closures being discussed. If Pratt did not make every reasonable effort to keep the work in Connecticut, it could be considered in breach of a clause in its contract with the machinists. The union has now concluded its case. Pratt will begin its defense today and continue Wednesday. Among the list of witnesses who may be called is Louis Chenevert, the CEO of Pratt’s parent company, UTC.
For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.