Teamsters ratify Sikorsky deal

The union representing Sikorsky Aircraft employees voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to approve the deal agreed to by Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky’s parent company.

Teamsters Local 1150 members in Connecticut and Florida voted 2,104 to 140 to approve the deal that will ensure that Sikorsky employees build the CH-53K King Stallion helicopters.

The union members were the final group needed to finalize the contract, which was approved two weeks ago by the General Assembly.

As part of the deal, hourly rates for employees hired after July 1, 2017 would be reduced by 25%. Current employees will receive a $1,500 ratification bonus for approving the deal, according to the Teamsters Local 1150 website.  

Under the plan, Sikorsky's headquarters on Main Street, Stratford would be used to produce nearly 200 CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters through at least June 2032. Sikorsky would have the chance to earn up to $220 million over the 16-year deal if it meets targets for employment, increased in-state supply chain spending and capital expenditures. The company would have to retain and grow a full-time employment base to more than 8,000 and nearly double its spending with suppliers throughout the state. The agreement can be extended beyond June 2032 should the underlying federal contract be lengthened.

In a statement issued Sunday, Malloy thanked the union membership for the vote, which he ‘called “important and necessary.”

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,” Malloy said. “These businesses and employees are our neighbors - located in every corner of the state. I want to thank everyone involved in this process for their efforts in ensuring we protect Connecticut’s manufacturing future. Today is truly a day to celebrate.”

Sikorsky spokesman Paul Jackson issued a company statement thanking the union members for the vote.

"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," Jackson said.

Stay with The Stratford Star and The HAN Network for more information on this story.