More than 2,000 members of the union who will work on building 200 CH-53K King Stallion Helicopters for the next 14 years voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new contract Sunday.
By a vote of 2,104 to 143, Teamsters 1150 voted to accept a contract with Lockheed Martin that keeps helicopter production at the Sikorsky facility in Stratford. It’s unclear still exactly how much the total contract is worth, but a brief summary on the union’s website says all new employees who joined the union after July 1, 2017 will receive a 25 percent reduction in their hourly rates and a one-time $1,500 ratification bonus.
The maximum number of hours worked per week will be 36 hours and anything over 36 hours will be paid as overtime, according to the website. Also the company will contribute 4 percent of their unmatched gross earnings to their pension plan and new employees will receive an additional $1.20 per hour contribution for up to 40 hours per week.
Sunday’s vote was a necessary step in Lockheed Martin’s decision to stay and manufacture the helicopter in Connecticut.
The General Assembly approved a $220 million economic incentive program for the helicopter maker during a one-day special session on Sept. 28.
During debate over why it was necessary to give the company an economic incentive to stay, it was revealed that the cost of doing business in Connecticut was about $400 million more than in other southern states like Florida and South Carolina. The company, according to lawmakers, said it needed to make up the difference in order to produce the helicopter in Stratford.
Politicians were quick to issue statements Sunday thanking the union for ratifying the agreement.
“Connecticut’s Executive Branch, our General Assembly, Lockheed Martin, and its many skilled workers have all joined together to protect the long-term success of Connecticut’s advanced manufacturing base,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said. “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.”
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro said the deal will allow Sikorsky to have a strong presence in Connecticut for years to come.
“Today’s agreement between Lockheed Martin and Local 1150 will keep Sikorsky in Connecticut for years to come and will keep our hardworking men and women building the most advanced helicopters in the world,” DeLauro said. “I am hopeful that we can build on this agreement and continue to bring more business to Sikorsky right here where it belongs.”
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy said Sikorsky belongs in Connecticut.
“The deal approved today is a testament to Connecticut’s skilled workforce and the united commitment of the state and workers to ensure Connecticut remains a national hub for defense manufacturers and their suppliers,” Blumenthal and Murphy said in a statement.