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Pratt & Whitney Discloses Lost Work

Exec says jet engine maker had to cut 1,000 jobs in Connecticut because it had been losing work from airlines due to the recession and a missed deadline.

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- An executive at Pratt & Whitney testified in federal court Monday that the jet engine maker lost work because it missed a deadline and its airline customers were reeling from the recession.

The company is defending itself against a lawsuit by the Machinists union, trying to block Pratt & Whitney from closing plants at Cheshire and East Hartford and moving 1,000 jobs from Connecticut to Columbus, Ga., Singapore and Japan.

Todd Kallman, president of commercial engines for Pratt, testified that the company lost work from Northwest Airlines and UPS. The impact of the recession led Pratt & Whitney to estimate that the number of engines overhauled at its Cheshire plant would fall to 150 this year from 250 in 2009, he said.

In October 2008, Kallman said UPS, upset that Pratt missed a delivery target for repaired engines, no longer wanted the company to do the work.

"We had not been performing to our contract requirements," he said.

A UPS executive said "nobody in his staff would support Pratt & Whitney anymore," Kallman said.

Separately, Delta Air Lines eliminated engine overhaul work that previously was done in Connecticut after it took over Northwest Airlines in 2008, he said.

The trial began last month and is likely to continue into Wednesday. Judge Janet Hall is expected to decide this month whether the company complied with its union contract requiring "every reasonable effort" to preserve the 1,000 jobs it wants to move to Georgia and overseas.

Pratt & Whitney says it made every effort to identify alternatives that would make the businesses competitive and preserve the work in Connecticut.

But questioning by a union lawyer brought out that company executives were e-mailing each other about how quickly they could prepare plants outside Connecticut to accept work from Connecticut before telling the union it was considering shutting the Cheshire plant.

Kallman did not contest that the e-mails were sent.

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