Governor Rell Unveils Proposed State Assistance to Save Pratt Jobs
September 3, 2009
$100 Million, Five-Year Plan Aimed at Preserving 1,000 Jobs at Two Connecticut Facilities, Building Partnership Between UTC, Union
Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced a comprehensive plan to save the 1,000 jobs that are at risk at two Pratt & Whitney facilities in Connecticut. The state is offering $100 million in benefits over five years to prevent layoffs and strengthen the jet engine manufacturer’s presence in the state for years to come.
“I am totally committed to saving these good-paying jobs and to protecting the hundreds of workers and families who depend on them,” Governor Rell said. “I am equally determined to preserve and grow Connecticut’s vital aerospace industry. Pratt & Whitney is a key element of our economy. Losing jobs at the Cheshire Engine Center and Connecticut Airfoil Repair Operation in East Hartford would be a blow to our state – but this is about more than statistics and economic impact, it is about the employees and their families and the lives they lead in our state.”
Governor Rell spoke Thursday morning with Louis R. Chênevert – the President and Chief Executive Officer of Pratt’s parent company, East Hartford-based United Technologies (UTC) – to discuss the plan, which conditions the state aid on both short-term and long-term job retention requirements.
The Governor also held conference calls this morning to brief members of the state’s Congressional delegation and leaders of the General Assembly. She directed top-level state economic officials, including leaders of the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Office of Policy and Management and the Department of Revenue Services, to work with Pratt to finalize the details of the plan.
“I intend not only to save jobs today but build a long-term partnership that will position the State of Connecticut, Pratt and our state’s entire aerospace industry for growth and success in the future,” Governor Rell said.
The plan includes:
- Lifting the 70 percent cap on Corporation Business Tax Credits for UTC
- Training assistance
- Creation of a new Job Retention Tax Credit
- Investments in machinery and equipment
- Construction of an Engineering Center of Excellence
“While saving jobs right away is a key focus, I am also looking for a partnership with Pratt in cultivating a dynamic, tech-savvy work force,” Governor Rell said. “That is a resource that will benefit the state and the company for decades. A state-of-the-art Engineering Center of Excellence can accommodate the thousands of engineers that work at Pratt and other aerospace businesses now – and help expand the number of engineering jobs in the future – while also serving as a powerful recruitment tool for the company and the state. This plan is about more than merely offsetting costs – it is about our shared economic future.”
Pratt & Whitney employs 11,000 people – about 7,000 of them salaried, including 3,900 engineers, and about 4,000 of them hourly workers. They represent about 30 percent of the total UTC work force.
As soon as word of the possible layoffs became public in July, Governor Rell has worked with both Pratt and union officials to avoid job losses.
“From the start, we knew this would need to be a team effort,” the Governor said. “I am proud of the collective effort put forth by the state and the union to keep these jobs in Connecticut.”