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East Hartford To Feel Cold Winds Of Aerospace Downturn As Pratt Cuts Announced

PrattEmployees.jpg
Frankie Graziano
/
Connecticut Public
A file photo of the Pratt and Whitney campus in East Hartford from 2019. Some employees at the aerospace manufacturer could soon lose their jobs because of COVID-19's grip on commercial air travel.

Jobs at Pratt & Whitney, the jet engine maker headquartered in East Hartford, may soon be cut due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on commercial air travel.

The massive blow to the commercial aerospace industry resulting from people flying less to avoid COVID-19 transmission has directly affected Pratt’s parent company, Raytheon Technologies.

East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc told Connecticut Public that layoffs are coming.

“When I talked recently to them and asked specifics about what that meant for the state of Connecticut or East Hartford, it was 454 involuntary separations across Connecticut,” Leclerc said. “In the Pratt & Whitney campus here located in East Hartford, it was going to mean 381 salary positions.”

Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes announced in April that salaried workers at companies like Pratt & Whitney would suffer a 10% pay cut, while hourly workers could be furloughed. At the time, he called it a “temporary” measure being done to “preserve jobs and mitigate long-term business impact.”

But now, Leclerc is gearing up for something worse.

“It gives me a great pause because what happens then is I need to take into consideration the residual effects of those cuts, and does that mean that the businesses and the vendors that do work for Pratt & Whitney -- the commercial side of the business -- what that means for the businesses that exist within my community,” Leclerc said.

Pratt hasn’t publicly confirmed Leclerc’s figures, but the company has said there will be an unspecified number of layoffs.

For East Hartford, any potential scaling down of Pratt & Whitney’s footprint -- and the residual impact it could have on local supply chain companies -- would compound existing economic issues the town faces.

Leclerc said there isn’t much opportunity for raw land development in a town that’s already built out. She said one way local officials can improve East Hartford’s outlook is to focus on acquiring property for redevelopment in order to expand the grand list – similar to what’s happening at the old Showcase Cinemas site on Silver Lane.

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