Iowa’s U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley met Tuesday with United Technologies Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Greg Hayes to reiterate concerns he’d expressed last fall during the lead up to UTC’s acquisition of Rockwell Collins.
“I want to make sure that we aren’t losing employment in Iowa. We’ve got a lot of small towns — Bellevue, Manchester and Decorah — that are doing a good job for Collins (Aerospace), as well as Cedar Rapids,” Grassley said, recounting an approximately 25-minute conversation with Hayes.
UTC — parent company of Cedar Rapids-based Collins Aerospace — and Raytheon Co. announced Sunday they intend to merge to become an aerospace and defense technology corporation valued at more than $100 billion. The new corporation would be called Raytheon Technologies Corp. and headquartered in Boston.
“You know, you’re always somewhat skeptical when you are told these things because I’ve learned to be skeptical, (but) I don’t question the sincerity of the people making the statements,” Grassley added. “In fact, they tried to back it up a little bit that they didn’t think there would be any change in employment, and then they emphasized there has been an increase under the present merger in Cedar Rapids.
“They went to great lengths to tell me about the great things being done by Rockwell in several areas even beyond aviation. So they speak very highly of what’s going on with Rockwell in Iowa.”
Sen. Joni Ernst, who also met with UTC officials, said in an email that, “It’s so important that Iowa’s workforce remain a crucial part of Collins Aerospace and continue to play a central role in the national defense industrial base. From my discussions with company officials this week, it sounds like that will be the case.”
She added, though, that she will “continue to be in contact with United Technologies on their next steps.”
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Rockwell Collins was purchased by UTC in November. Rockwell was combined with other units to become Collins Aerospace.
Farmington, Conn.-based UTC develops avionics and communications systems and Waltham, Mass.-headquartered Raytheon is a U.S. defense contractor best known for manufacturing the Patriot missile defense system.
After the proposed merger, the combined corporation would be the second-largest U.S. aerospace company, just behind Boeing Co. The deal is anticipated to be completed by mid-2020.
Gazette reporter James Q. Lynch contributed to this article.