Two labour unions have launched a legal challenge against Colt’s Manufacturing Co. for outsourcing manufacture of primary components and laying off workers.
Amalgamated Local No. 376 and United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America filed a civil lawsuit on 27 February, 2018 in the U.S. District Court District of Connecticut. The unions allege that Colt has laid off large numbers of staff and are outsourcing production of all major rifle components including bolts and barrels. This has in turn led to job losses which break a memorandum of understanding reached between the unions and Colt’s in December 2015, as Colt’s emerged from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reorganisation.
Colt’s allegedly discontinued second-shift operations of bolts and bolt carriers and laid off about 54 workers in October 2016, according to the unions. A further 74 union employees were fired in February 2018. Hartford Business reports that Colt’s have gone from 506 employees in October 2016, down to just 288 in March 2018.
An embattled Colt’s has been struggling for a number of years, most recently emerging from bankruptcy two years ago with a $10 million state loan to ensure that jobs are maintained in Hartford. This loan was used to purchase its current factory space and head office in West Hartford. The Hartford Courant reports that the terms of the loan stipulate that Colt’s must maintain an average of 615 jobs for 60 consecutive months ending 31 December, 2021 under the terms or it could face a penalty of $16,259 per job.
The lawsuit brought by the unions is seeking a ruling to force Colt’s to reverse the layoffs until a proper arbitration case can be heard. The unions have also filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. Colt’s have not issue any comment on the lawsuit and court proceedings are continuing.
H/T: Dan Watters