Working to guarantee Sikorsky helicopters ‘continue to be made in Connecticut’

In reaction to a United Technologies Corp. (UTC) announcement that a sale or spinoff of Stratford-based Sikorsky Aircraft seems likely, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said his focus is making sure “that Sikorsky helicopters continue to be made in Connecticut, no matter who owns the company.”

On Monday, UTC said a company review concluded diversifying itself of the helicopter division would be a good strategic move.

UTC officials have floated the idea of selling Sikorsky — which employs many hundreds of Shelton residents — for the past few months.

“This news is no surprise, and my focus remains on ensuring that Sikorsky helicopters continue to be made in Connecticut, no matter who owns the company,” said a Murphy, a Democrat in his first Senate term.

“I will remain in close contact with Sikorsky and UTC leadership as decisions are made over the next few months,” Murphy said.

“And in Washington,” he continued, “I am committed to supporting robust federal funding that will protect and grow Connecticut’s defense manufacturing industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it supports across our state.”

Region’s largest employer

Sikorsky is the region’s largest employer, with about 8,000 workers in Connecticut. About 6,200 of them work at the sprawling plant on Route 110 in northern Stratford, bordering Shelton. The company also has a few other smaller facilities in Shelton.

The company recently announced it would layoff about 1,400 Sikorsky employers due to declining demand for its helicopters from the oil industry and from global military markets. About 180 of the impacted workers are expected to be in Connecticut.

According to figures released by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office last year, UTC has more employees from Shelton than from any other town in this area — including Stratford. About 800 Shelton residents work for UTC.

UTC includes Pratt & Whitney and other divisions.