Workers’ correspondence

International Association of Machinists sisters and brothers at the profitable United Technologies Corporation’s Pratt & Whitney plant in Connecticut are fighting hard for their jobs.

On Oct. 3, materials workers at Pratt voted “no” to the company’s proposal to stop the elimination of 160 jobs if the workers agreed to steep pay cuts. The affected departments – parts shipping and crib – have the largest concentration of women and African American workers, most with 20 to 30 years of service.

When the company announced the job cuts, over 700 workers rallied outside UTC’s corporate headquarters in Hartford to protest moving jobs to low-wage, nonunion areas. The union filed a lawsuit and hit the streets with the support of the state’s congressional delegation and small manufacturers who depend on Pratt contracts to survive.

It’s outrageous that a company that can afford to give $327 million to CEO George David is outsourcing jobs – not because they aren’t making a profit, but because they can make even more profit and destroy the lives of union workers at the same time.

Even the Hartford Courant was astounded to find out that George David, the CEO of UTC, makes so much that it would take a material handler 262 years to make what David did in 2002.

Earlier this year, massive popular outrage stopped Stanley Works from moving their corporate headquarters from New Britain, Conn., to a post office box in Bermuda.

Now, public pressure from all of labor and from elected officials is needed to stop UTC’s profit-grab. Connecticut’s congressional delegation, who help Pratt & Whitney get government contracts, should demand that these jobs be saved.

Reversing Bush’s tax cuts that mostly benefit people like George David, and reinstating 1970 level taxes on excessive wealth will also discourage this kind of shameless looting.

This article is reprinted from BullsEye, Vol. 22, No. 2, October 2003, a newsletter published by the Communist Party USA in New Haven, Conn., for workers at U.S. Repeating Arms Company. The workers are members of International Association of Machinists Victory Lodge 609, part of IAM District 26.