Pratt Machinists Give Negotiators Strike Authority
October 29th 2010 · 0 Comments
Pratt workers given union right to call strike vote
HARLAN LEVY | JOURNAL INQUIRER-Republican American
On Wednesday, just one day after contract talks with Pratt & Whitney began, Pratt’s 3,400 union workers in East Hartford, Middletown, and Cheshire held a “strike sanction” ballot — a preliminary strike vote — and hedged their bets on a quick settlement, overwhelmingly voting to give machinists union officials the authority to call for a strike vote on Dec. 5. A strike would occur if members approve.
The vote also allows workers to get funds from the international union if a strike does occur after the current three-year contract expires Dec. 5.
“We’re happy that over 60 percent of the membership took the time on a rainy day to vote,” said James Parent, chief union negotiator for the IAM locals, after the tally was in. “It tells me that the membership knows that the biggest issue is job security, and they’re prepared to support the negotiating committee if it can’t reach an agreement.”
Pratt media relations manager Bryan Kidder would not comment, citing an agreed-upon blackout during the negotiations..
Talks resumed Wednesday. On Tuesday the union presented its contract proposal. Both sides realize a strike, the first mounted by the International Association of Machinists locals since 2001, may occur as the union and company face off over job security.