A federal grand jury in Connecticut returned an indictment last month charging a former manager of leading aerospace engineering company Pratt & Whitney, Inc., and five executives of outsource engineering suppliers for participating in a long-running conspiracy to restrict the hiring and recruiting of employees among their respective companies. The conspiracy affected thousands of engineers and other skilled workers in the aerospace industry who perform services in the design, manufacturing and servicing of aircraft components for both commercial and military purposes. According to the felony indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, six individuals conspired with unnamed others to allocate employees by agreeing not to hire or solicit employees from each other’s companies. The defendants recognized the mutual financial benefit of reducing labor costs by hampering aerospace workers from finding new employment in a competitive environment. “Conduct that corrupts competition for workers has no place in our economy,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan S. Kanter of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “Our investigation revealed a prolonged and widespread scheme to deprive aerospace workers of the ability to plan their own careers and earn competitive pay.”
Following the indictment, a jet engine mechanic formerly employed by Pratt & Whitney filed a class action suit in federal court in Connecticut against the company and five outsource engineer suppliers. The plaintiffs seek damages as a result of the alleged conspiracy to suppress labor costs and hamper employees’ career prospects using illegal no-poach agreements in violation of antitrust laws (David Durbin v. Pratt & Whitney, Inc., et al., No. 3:21-cv-1682, D. Conn.). The other named defendants include Quest Global Services-NA, Inc; Belcan LLC; Cyient, Inc.; Parametric Solutions, Inc.; Agilis Engineering, Inc.; and a number of individuals.