Company wants AG intervention in layoff issue limited

Blumenthal

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Submitting an amicus brief should be all Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal can do in the case of a company defending its plan to move 1,000 jobs out of state, the company argued Tuesday.

Attorneys for Pratt & Whitney responded to Blumenthal's request to file the brief in support of District Lodge 26 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which alleges the aircraft engine manufacturer's plans violate a labor agreement.

"The State fails to provide any legal support to allow its participation in any way other than to file an amicus brief," attorneys for the company wrote.

"To the extent the Attorney General views 'participation' as more than an opportunity to file a legal brief, this Court should deny the request as inconsistent with the concept of amicus curiae.

"Giving the Attorney General a more expansive role in what is a contractual dispute between two private parties would also break with prior precedent in Connecticut, give the State an unclear 'quasi-party' status, interfere with the rights of the parties to have a timely, fair and equitable resolution of their dispute, and may serve as a platform for more partisan pronouncements by the Attorney General."

Blumenthal says he has several interests in making sure 1,000 well-paying jobs don't leave the state, including protecting the citizens of Connecticut who will suffer economically as a result of the move.

Pratt & Whitney plans to move the jobs to Georgia, Japan and Singapore.

"I will fight Pratt &Whitney's attempt to outsource 1,000 well-paying state jobs in violation of its union contract," Blumenthal said. "Loss of these jobs will have a powerful and pernicious impact not only on the workers and their families, but also on the state's economy, tax base and labor relations.

"My office has a compelling and clear interest in assuring Pratt lives up to its labor agreement and should therefore be allowed to intervene. The State can assist in demonstrating that the facts clearly entitle the plaintiff to enforcement of the parties' collectively bargained contractual obligations, including Pratt's obligation to undertake reasonable efforts to preserve work in Connecticut."

Blumenthal has been active against other companies' plans to lay off workers.

Currently, the state's Department of Public Utility Control has, after hearing arguments from Blumenthal's office, put a hold on planned layoffs by Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas.

Blumenthal said an investigation is needed to determine if the layoffs will threaten safety and reliability or conflict with rate orders.

Also, he has criticized 75 layoffs at AT&T.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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