In what has become a familiar setting for union contract negociations, Hartford, Connecticut Pratt & Whitney’s machinists union is bargaining against potential losses of jobs instead of potential gains.
The P&W subsidiary United Technologies Corp. intends to cut 190 jobs; however, the union said this week that the company had a long way to go if it wanted union negotiators to recommend ratification to the members.
While a company spokesman said Pratt & Whitney would not comment on bargaining, union leaders seemed to be balking at compromise on a union vote is scheduled for Sunday.
About 3,000 Pratt & Whitney unionized workers are covered by the unsettled contract proposal. While Pratt & Whitney's military program is vulnerable to Pentagon cuts, orders for jet engines are expected to pick up in a few years with an increase in joint strike fighter production.
Boeing Company recently announced plans to move its 777X passenger jet project to a right-to-work state after unions in Washington state rejected a proposal last month.
Meanwhile, high-paying manufacturing jobs like those at Pratt & Whitney are becoming increasingly hard to find as manufacturers maintain productivity with fewer workers and make cost-cutting measures a wrung in the ladder of higher profits.
At the same time, union membership has dropped significantly in recent years across the country as companies relocate plants to right-to-work states and points offshore. Unions are also losing membership to subcontractors in China and other nations.
Pratt & Whitney employs about 32,000 workers worldwide, with about 15,000 in the United States, of which 9,000 are Connecticut based.