The rain didn’t stop hundreds of Pratt and Whitney workers from rallying outside the local machinists union in East Hartford. They came in on buses from Bristol, Cheshire and Windsor Locks to band together in asking Pratt and Whitney not to close the Cheshire facility and an East Hartford repair center.
“I just have one question. Hasn’t Pratt and Whitney learned not to move jobs out of state? Last time they did that, they brought them all back again. The workers are here, these are the people, you are the men and women who have kept this company alive,” said State Comptroller Nancy Wyman.
The union says the company is planning to move the work to Georgia and overseas, which will cost Connecticut more than one thousand jobs.
“If there’s not a law against sending defense jobs overseas, there ought to be,” said Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz.
The union says it has been in talks with Pratt and Whitney, and it’s proposing alternatives.
“Take some of the work out of Columbus, Georgia and move that to Singapore instead of attacking us here in the state of Connecticut,” said Jim Parent, spokesman for the IAW Local 1746.
At the end of the rally, the hundreds marched over to Pratt and Whitney to deliver a letter to management. It asked them to put the closings on hold till full contract negotiations are done.
In a statement, Pratt and Whitney spokesman Matthew Perra said, ““Pratt & Whitney is committed to keeping jobs in Connecticut. The challenge is ensuring we can do this work competitively in the global market place. We have worked hard and made significant efforts and investments to make these businesses successful. We continue to look for ways to make them viable going forward.”
The company says it has met with the union several times and has put more than 30 hours into the negotiations. It says so far, the union hasn’t proposed anything to meet the cost savings needed to keep the two facilities open.
The two groups will meet again next week.