WNPR

Strikers At United Technologies Cheshire Plant Call For A Better Deal On Benefits

Sep 17, 2018

Nearly 200 employees at a United Technologies Aerospace Systems plant in Cheshire went on strike Monday, after negotiations over a new contract failed to reach agreement on wage and benefit levels.

Gail Byrd-Fox from Wolcott is a spokeswoman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 62A.

She told Connecticut Public Radio her members want better wages and insurance benefits. Byrd-Fox said UTC has been increasing workers’ share of health insurance costs.

“We have people here, young people, whose wives are pregnant," she said. "They need insurance for their children. And not only that, they gave us a little raise and they took it right back from us by putting it into our insurance. So they are not giving us nothing.”

Gail Byrd-Fox on the picket line
Credit Lori Mack / Connecticut Public Radio

Another striker, Toni DeStefano from Waterbury said they’re prepared to strike for as long as it takes to get a new contract.

“They’ve got to recognize our worth," she said. "It’s time. They’re just taking away and taking away.”

Arlinda Debrito from Waterbury said the employees deserve better pay and benefits. “We work very hard," said Debrito. "We start everyday at 5 o’clock in the morning to accomplish whatever they need. So we’re going to fight until we get what we want, especially the health care.”

The strike is the first against any UTC unit in over a decade. The company has said it has a contingency plan and intends to keep the plant open throughout the stoppage.