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Sikorsky Workers Approve New Contract

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Sikorsky S-61N Sabah Arar AFP Getty Images

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STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Nearly 4,500 Sikorsky Aircraft workers in Connecticut and Florida began working under a new four-year contract Monday, a day after they approved the deal by an overwhelming margin.

Members of Local 1150 of the Teamsters union voted 2,098 to 66 Sunday in favor of the agreement, which includes a 10 percent wage increase over the life of the contract and $4,000 in signing bonuses, union officials said. The company also agreed to a 15 percent increase in the pension multiplier and a 20 percent increase to the case balance pension.

Sikorsky makes Black Hawk helicopters and is a division of Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. The new contract covers workers at Sikorsky’s headquarters in Stratford, Conn., and its development flight center in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“Both sides worked hard to reach an agreement that is fair to our employees while helping Sikorsky to remain competitive,” the company said in a statement. “The contract ratification comes two months ahead of the expiration of the previous contract and provides labor stability in the midst of a challenging and uncertain economic time for Sikorsky, its customers, and its suppliers.”

Messages were left Monday for union officials.

In October, United Technologies reported that third-quarter profit rose just 1 percent and warned that weak military aerospace sales were expected to cut into revenue. Revenue for the quarter fell at Sikorsky and other divisions of the aerospace and building systems manufacturer, with cuts in U.S. military spare parts orders taking a toll on Sikorsky.

Last week, United Technologies’ chairman and chief executive, Louis Chenevert, told investors that 2013 earnings are expected to be $6.15 a share, just shy of Wall Street’s forecast.

Contract negotiations began Nov. 26. Last week, the company raised its proposals on average annual wage increases from 1.75 percent to 2 percent to 2.5 percent. It also raised its proposed ratification bonuses from $1,000 to $1,500 to $4,000, according to the union’s website.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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