STRATFORD, Conn. — Members of Teamsters Local 1150 voted overwhelmingly Sunday to approve a deal between Lockheed Martin and the state to keep Sikorsky Aircraft in Connecticut.
The membership voted 2,104 to 140 to approve the plan, according to the union's website. Sikorsky will build 200 heavy-lift CH-53K King Stallion helicopters for the U.S. Navy in the state and keep its headquarters in Stratford as part of the $220 million deal with the state of Connecticut.
The union was the final group to approve the contract, which passed the General Assembly last month.
U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy (both D-Conn.) applauded the vote.
“Sikorsky belongs in Connecticut, and we’re thrilled that’s where they’ll stay,” said Blumenthal and Murphy. “We appreciate the sacrifices entailed in this agreement and accepted by the extraordinary working men and women at Sikorsky."
As part of the deal, hourly rates for employees hired after July 1, 2017, will be cut 25 percent, according to the Teamsters Local 1150 website. Current employees will receive a $1,500 ratification bonus for approving the deal.
"For decades, Sikorsky has been known around the world for representing the gold standard in military rotary-wing aircraft thanks to the skill and devotion of workers in Connecticut," the senators said. "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."
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy thanked the Teamsters for the vote.
“The broader agreement between the State of Connecticut and Lockheed Martin now has overwhelming support," Malloy said. "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.
"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. Hundreds of Connecticut-based supply chain companies and their thousands of employees will also benefit. ... These businesses and employees are our neighbors - located in every corner of the state.”
The deal will also keep Sikorsky at its current Stratford headquarters until at least 2032.
The agreement that the state made with Sikorsky owner Lockheed Martin will retain and grow 8,000 direct jobs and see Sikorsky double its spending of $350 million per year among in-state suppliers.
In exchange, Connecticut will provide financial incentives totaling up to $220 million over the term of the agreement. Sikorsky will receive grants of up to $8.57 million on an annual basis as long as it meets certain benchmarks in regards to growing jobs, payroll spending, utilizing in-state suppliers and deploying capital for machinery and equipment. Sales and use taxes will be exempted up to $5.7 million per year.
If Lockheed Martin exceeds the target level employment by 100 to 550 jobs in any given year, it will be eligible for a performance incentive grant of up to $1.9 million, for a total of up to $20 million.
The agreement passed the state Senate by a vote of 35-1, and the state House of Representatives by a vote of 136-6.
Sikorsky employs 7,855 people at its facilities in Stratford, Bridgeport, Shelton and North Haven.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.