Blumenthal submits thoughts on layoffs

John O'Brien Dec. 18, 2009, 1:59pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has filed an amicus brief that argues a company should not be allowed to transfer 1,000 jobs out of his state.

Blumenthal filed the brief Friday in District Lodge 26 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers' lawsuit against aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, which plans to move the jobs to Columbus, Ga., Japan and Singapore.

Blumenthal agrees that Pratt & Whitney's actions violated an employment agreement and wants a federal judge to enjoin the company from going forth with its plan.

"The State was directly involved in negotiations with the parties over the planned job transfer and even offered Pratt a total of $100 million in incentives to preserve the jobs in Connecticut," Blumenthal wrote.

"The evidence will show that Pratt's decision to transfer jobs out of Connecticut was final and irrevocable well before it sought to engage the plaintiff union and the State in discussions aimed at preserving the jobs, and its subsequent participation in those discussions was merely a sham geared at creating a false impression that it was undertaking bona fide efforts to preserve Connecticut jobs."

Pratt & Whitney had written that Blumenthal should be allowed to file the brief but not participate further in the case. U.S. District Judge Janet Hall agreed.

"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," the company wrote.

Blumenthal said the well-being of his state and its citizens would be harmed if Pratt & Whitney is allowed to lay off the employees.

He has fought against other companies that planned to lay off state employees, including AT&T, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas.

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