Workers at two jet-engine plants in Connecticut endorse deal, setting tone for stability, growth
- 86% of 2,600 workers
- 2.5% annual wage increases
- Defined-contribution retirement plant
Pratt & Whitney’s Pure Power geared turbofan engine series is critical to its future growth, but recently the company has had trouble fulfilling its production forecasts.
Approximately 2,600 workers at Pratt & Whitney’s jet-engine manufacturing operations in Middletown and East Hartford, Conn., approved a new, five-and-a-half-year labor agreement. The contract goes into effect immediately and runs through May 2022. According to a labor representative, 86% of workers represented by two locals of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers endorsed the new deal.
“This contract rewards our employees for their skill, dedication and hard work, while also positioning the company for long-term success,” according to Terry Nolan, vice president - Employee and Labor Relations, and the company’s lead negotiator, in a statement.
As reported, the new contract will provide 2.5% annual wage increases for the workers. For Pratt & Whitney, it places new workers (hired after January 1) in a defined-contribution retirement plan, rather than a defined-benefit pension plan.
Also for Pratt & Whitney and its parent company United Technologies Corp., labor peace brings less tangible but still significant advantages. In particular, it may calm some anxious shareholders needing to be reassured after the company in September cut its 2016 target for deliveries of the PurePower® PW1100G-JM geared turbofan engine, indicating supply-chain problems are keeping it from completing on-time deliveries to aircraft builders like Airbus and Bombardier Inc.
The new labor deal also may soothe some nerves for UTC, which as the parent company to Carrier Corp. has been publicly admonished by President-elect Donald Trump for its plan to transfer some manufacturing operations to Monterrey, Mexico.
The Connecticut plants produce military and commercial jet engines, including the PW1100G-JM geared-turbofan engines for the Airbus A320neo among other series, and the F135 engine for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.
Reportedly, the contract also clears the way for Pratt to hire a large number of new workers needed to increase it engine production rate, to meet an extensive backlog of new orders.
"This is an exciting time to be at Pratt & Whitney,” Nolan stated. “We have great products, and we have the best people to design, build and service these products."