Three Democratic members of Connecticut's congressional delegation—Senators Joseph Lieberman and Chris Dodd and U.S. Rep. Rosa
DeLauro—have told workers at the Sikorsky plant in Stratford,
Conn., that they plan a three-prong fight against the U.S. Navy's decision last week to award the presidential helicopter contract to the Lockheed-Martin plant in
Owego, N.Y. Sikorsky, owned by United Technologies, had been manufacturing the presidential helicopter for 50 years.
"We have already demanded that the Secretary of the Navy explain to us exactly what happened," Lieberman told a gathering at Teamsters of Teamsters Local 1150
also attended on Monday, Jan. 31, by Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell. "Second, we’re going to urge Sikorsky to protest the decision. And third, we’re going to fight for Rosa’s bill that would make sure not a
dime is spent on a Presidential helicopter that is not made 100 per cent in the USA.”
Lieberman stressed that Sikorsky’s bid was to be made entirely in the United States, whereas the successful Lockheed Martin bid is based on an Agustawestland helicopter of Italian and British design, now owned by Finmeccanica. The Lockheed-Martin bid calls for its US101 helicopter's main transmission and rotor blades to be built overseas.
In a pep talk for the workers, Lieberman declared: “You’ve worked too hard for too long to be treated like this. It is an insult. By picking the bid with foreign content, the Navy is saying Made in American is not good enough. They’re wrong. This
is about performance. But is also about pride and patriotism.
"I know you’re anxious about what this means for your future and for your
jobs. And I won’t lie to you – this hurts, and it won’t be easy to undo it. But you can count on your
entire Congressional delegation to give it our all and to stand with you every step of the way. And
I’ll make this pledge: This decision will not cost a single, solitary Sikorsky job.
"We hit some turbulence last week, but it won’t bring us down. Together, we’ll get through this,
and fly to clearer skies ahead."