Cassano Votes to Keep & Grow Sikorsky Jobs in Connecticut
State Senator Steve Cassano (D-Manchester) cast a historic vote in the state Senate today to retain and grow approximately 8,000 jobs at Sikorsky Aircraft until 2032, keep the Sikorsky headquarters here in Connecticut, and substantially increase Sikorsky’s spending with its network of 302 in-state suppliers—17 of which are located in Sen. Cassano’s Senate District towns of Bolton, Glastonbury and Manchester.
The agreement with Sikorsky will infuse an estimated $69 billion into Connecticut’s economy, generate $384 million per year in annual tax revenue, generate $21 billion in employee wages and benefits, and directly and indirectly support 24,600 jobs.
This agreement presents an opportunity to strengthen one of three critical components of Connecticut’s defense industry sector and to shore-up the state’s standing as a leader in fields of aerospace technology and manufacturing. The increased spending by Lockheed Martin in Connecticut’s supply chain alone will exceed the totality of the state’s full incentive package.
“I can still remember one of my first jobs, working on a Bullard lathe at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford,” Sen. Cassano said today. “That was 50 years ago, and we’re still making airplanes and helicopters and submarines right here in Connecticut. That says something about our people, about Connecticut’s public education system, about our community colleges and technical schools. I’m very proud today to have cast a vote to continue that tradition of making things, to continue to grow the types of good-paying middle class jobs that make Connecticut such a great place to live and raise a family, and that the next generation can take advantage of.”
Today’s agreement with Sikorsky comes on the heels of recent announcements by Pratt & Whitney and Electric Boat that they plan on hiring several thousand employees in the next several years and expanding operations in Connecticut, thereby reinforcing Connecticut’s standing as a leader in fields of aerospace technology and manufacturing.
Under the terms of the new agreement, Sikorsky/ Lockheed Martin will:
- Keep the Sikorsky headquarters in the state and maintain Connecticut as a primary production facility for its government-based helicopter business
- Retain and grow its full time employment in Connecticut from a minimum of 6,500 employees in 2019 to just over 8,000 by 2032
- Increase its spending with Connecticut subcontractors from $300 million per year beginning in 2019 to $470 million per year beginning in 2030.
- Increase its capital spending for machinery and equipment by 22 percent.
In exchange, Connecticut will provide financial incentives totaling up to $220 million over the term of the agreement:
- Sikorsky will earn grants of up to $8.57 million on an annual basis over the term of the agreement by meeting certain benchmarks, such as retaining at least the minimum level of each category; growing jobs; payroll spending; utilizing in-state suppliers; and deploying capital for machinery, equipment, and other long term investments
- Sales and use taxes will be exempted up to $5.7 million per year over the term of the agreement
- If Lockheed Martin exceeds the target level employment by 100 to 550 jobs in any given year of the agreement, it will be eligible for a performance incentive grant of up to $1.9 million, for a total of up to $20 million
Under terms of the new agreement between Sikorsky and the state—an agreement which is still pending U.S. Navy and labor union approval—Sikorsky will build nearly 200 CH-53K King Stallion helicopters in Connecticut for the United States Navy until at least 2032.
The King Stallion is approximately the size of two passenger buses; it is capable of lifting 36,000 pounds and can carry a fully loaded Humvee and a platoon of 48 Marines. During the construction and testing of four King Stallion prototypes at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Fla. facility, Connecticut subcontractors provided more $161.4 million worth of product design, development and parts.
Sikorsky presently has 7,855 employees at its facilities in Stratford, Bridgeport, Shelton and North Haven. Those employment figures will decline slightly, then grow, over the next several years as Sikorsky transitions its work in Connecticut from building the Blackhawk helicopter for the U.S. Army to the new, larger King Stallion helicopter for the U.S. Navy.