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Teamsters overwhelmingly approve Sikorsky deal


WALLINGFORD – The Teamsters union at Sikorsky Aircraft Sunday afternoon overwhelmingly approved an agreement that is part of a larger deal to maintain manufacturing jobs in the state.

By a vote of 2,104 to 140, union members voted in favor of reductions in pay for workers hired after July 1, 2017. The agreement calls for a 25% reduction in hourly rates for workers hired after that date and creates a two tier wage system.

The agreement also outlines changes in scheduling and pensions. It will be in place until February 18, 2018. There is a $1,500 signing bonus for employees currently covered by the agreement.

Gov. Dan Malloy said in a statement, “Today’s vote ensures that Sikorsky – one of the state’s iconic businesses – will remain for years to come in the state they have long called home. Hundreds of Connecticut based supply chain companies and their thousands of employees will also benefit as a direct result from the CH53K being built right here.”

Lockheed Martin, owners of Sikorsky, issued a statement:

We are extremely pleased that our employees represented by Teamsters Local 1150 have ratified the new proposal enabling us to move forward with CH-53K helicopter production in Connecticut.  We thank the union leadership and members for their partnership, as well as Governor Dannel Malloy, Economic Development Commissioner Catherine Smith and the Connecticut General Assembly for their support in approving the financial incentive package in September.  We now look forward to working with our customers, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, and preparing the Stratford facility for the start of low rate initial production.

Connecticut lawmakers approved a $220 million agreement that will keep Sikorsky Aircraft in the state, producing  the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter, a new line of heavy cargo helicopters, for the U.S. military.

The General Assembly voted on the deal last month, recently reached between Sikorsky, its new parent company, Lockheed Martin, and Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy‘s administration.

“This is multi-generational because you’ll make the product for a period of time and then you’ll maintain the product for another 20 or 30 years after that,” said Malloy on Wednesday. “This assures a lot of jobs in Connecticut for a very long period of time.”

Senate President Martin Looney, a New Haven Democrat, said Connecticut was in competition with states including Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Georgia to build nearly 200 CH-53K King Stallion helicopters, at least through June 2032.

Some Republicans are dismayed the state is spending so much money to retain the company.

“I don’t think this is the way to make it happen and I think that if we start paying companies off, the line is going to get very long of people that want state resources in order to continue to state in our state,” said State Senator Joe Markley, R-Southington, the lone Senator to vote against the bill.