Pratt & Whitney workers ratify 3-year contract, establishing labor peace and job security as post-COVID-19 air travel resumes – Hartford Courant

WALLINGFORD — Unionized workers at Pratt & Whitney ratified a three-year contract on Sunday, securing labor peace as the jet engine maker looks forward to a return to pre-pandemic air travel and a steady increase in military spending .

For the International Association of Machinists, job security assured following COVID-19-related job cuts and the opening of a Pratt & Whitney manufacturing center in state-of-law North Carolina less favorable to unions than the Northeastern states.

David Powilatis, vice president of employee relations and labor at Pratt & Whitney, said the deal was fair to employees, while “positioning the company for long-term success.”

IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. said workers during the pandemic were seen as essential and “seriously took their role in keeping production going and helping the business stay profitable.”

The Machinists’ Union, which represents about 3,000 employees at Pratt & Whitney’s factories in East Hartford and Middletown, said about that number voted. The union did not provide details of the count.

The collective agreement, which takes effect on Monday, improves job security language, including guaranteed new work, annual wage increases, better pension accrual rates and more personal days and vacations. , the union said. He did not provide specific information about the contract.

The union said the pact improves health care costs, with a minimum average savings per employee of $2,400, including premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

Pratt & Whitney said the agreement includes competitive salary increases in each of the three years, improved medical and dental plans, enhanced vacation policies for new employees and the continuation of apprenticeship programs. .

Gerald Martin, an electrician who has worked at Pratt & Whitney for 24 years, said it was a fair contract. Following the vote at the Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, he said pensions had been increased after the company and union negotiated in 2016 an end to pensions for new hires under the 5.5 contract years that expires now.

Martin, 62, said Pratt & Whitney should benefit from improving business. He recently returned from Germany where he visited his family and said he had “never seen so many jets and planes overhead”. The plane he traveled in “was packed,” he said.

Eileen Post, Pratt & Whitney’s chief inspector general of military operations, said “lots of overtime” is available.

One improvement, she said, is that three weeks of vacation available after eight years of work can now be used after five years.

Post, a 38-year veteran of Pratt & Whitney, recalled the strikes of 1985 and 2001 which she said did little to benefit workers. “You come back for exactly the same pay you went on strike for,” she said.

Job security was a major concern for workers. During the pandemic, Pratt and Whitney’s workforce was reduced by 13%, Martinez said.

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Raytheon opens an advanced casting foundry and $650 million airfoil production plant in Asheville, North Carolina. He cited lower energy costs than Connecticut. The workforce is non-unionized, which can reduce labor costs, and without negotiated work rules in collective agreements, management will have more flexibility.

“Our team has been preparing for months for these negotiations, and the continued focus on protecting and growing Connecticut’s workforce is paramount,” Martinez said at the start of contract negotiations.

The machinists’ union cited the North Carolina plant as saying it “completes some of the work in Connecticut.”

Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies Corp., based in Waltham, Massachusetts, reported revenue of $4.5 billion for the first three months of the year, up 12% from the first quarter of 2021. Raytheon Technologies says it expects air travel to return next year to 2019 levels.

The East Hartford-based engine maker has come back from a sharp drop in revenue and profits brought on by COVID-19 that forced travel restrictions, prompting airlines to ground their fleets.

The machinists’ union said this year it was negotiating contracts that cover more than 55,000 workers.

Stephen Singer can be reached at

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