Some workers at Pratt & Whitney say they're unconcerned over the merger of Pratt's parent, United Technologies, with Massachusetts-based Raytheon. UTC has said it will move its headquarters out of Connecticut for the first time in its history, if the merger closes as expected next year.
But the news didn't faze employees of the jet engine subsidiary leaving work Monday. The company has said although it will move around 100 headquarters workers to a new location in the Boston area, it still has a commitment to keep the bulk of its 19,000 Connecticut engineers and manufacturing workers where they are.
Tim Thoma is a welder from Canterbury. The merger was news to him, but he says he’s not worried about his job.
“Not in this industry. This industry has always been booming," said Thoma. "I came from a different company 10 years ago – been here for a year – and I have faith that this kind of industry will keep booming.”
Daniel Moore works in special coatings for Pratt & Whitney. He said he did his research when he heard the news.
“It’s just going to make us the second biggest name out there in aviation other than Boeing,” said Moore. He isn’t worried about the merger because he doesn’t see redundancies in what the two companies already provide. “They do avionics and stuff like that -- gear," he explained. "I do engines so it don’t really hurt me none.”
Raymond Lamprecht lives in East Hartford and hopes his job running lasers for Pratt stays in that town. He read about the merger when he got up in the morning.
“It’s all big military firms merging together. I think it’s going to pick things up even more and help us out,” said Lamprecht.
Mike Perry is from Middletown. He hadn’t yet heard about the merger when he clocked out Monday. He said he's not concerned for himself, but he hopes the future is bright for his younger colleagues.
"I’ve got 40 years, so I think I’m on the downside of it," said Perry. "For the younger people that are just coming in, hopefully it’ll be a good thing – they won’t be affected by it. But, who knows.”
And that's the concern of the workers' union, District 26 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Tony Walter is the business representative for the local. He spent the day calling local lawmakers for any information he could give his members.
“Everybody’s trying to get information on what this means for the Connecticut workforce and we’re hearing the same thing: no impact to the Connecticut hourly work force, which is important to us, as well as the workforce in general because one aerospace job supports four in the community," said Walter. "We want to keep that alive in Connecticut.”
Right now, Walter is telling his members this is strictly a corporate merger; he doesn't see the same situation as when General Electric left Connecticut, complaining that it was dissatisfied with conditions in the state.
And that was the line taken by Democratic state lawmakers who discussed the merger news with reporters Monday. State senate president pro tem, Martin Looney said he believes this could be good news for the state.
"Certainly we regret the loss of the 100 executive jobs that will be moving to Boston," he said. "But overall I think now this will be even a much stronger company, dominant in its market, and I think will provide even greater stability for the 19,000 production jobs that are here in Connecticut."