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Latest News - November 2013

November 17, 2013
GE rebuffs union's proposed fixes
Source: Times Union
By:
Alysia Santo

The future looks bleak for General Electric's Fort Edward plant and its nearly 200 employees.

The company Sunday rejected union requests to extend the bargaining period another 30 days on Saturday, moving GE one step closer to plans to close its facility here and consolidate with another factory in Clearwater, Fla.

GE first announced its intention to move the electrical capacitor plant in September, triggering a 60-day bargaining window that concluded with GE's rejection of the union's offer to trim almost 10 percent of its workforce and seek $22 million in government financing.

"It is now clear to us that the company had no intention to engage in serious bargaining to save the Fort Edward plant," said Scott Gates, president of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Local 332, in a written statement.

Those allegations are "unfounded," said GE spokeswoman Christine Horne. "We have negotiated in good faith for 60 days and have taken the bargaining process extremely seriously," said Horne, adding that the union's proposal "falls well short" of achieving the level of savings that would be generated by moving to Clearwater.

According to the union, in order to meet GE's demands, they would have to accept less than half what they make now, a cut that would take production workers from around $29 per hour to about $11 per hour.

But GE "does not agree with that wage assessment," said Horne. She didn't provide an alternative calculation because GE does not "discuss financial details outside the bargaining process." Horne said the union did not include any wage concessions in their proposal.

Unlike the workforce in Fort Edward, Clearwater is not unionized. Gates statement on behalf of the union said GE intends to pay "poverty wages" to the staff in Clearwater, leaving them to rely on government assistance. "We, the taxpayers will once again be bailing out GE, which pays almost nothing in taxes," said Gates.

Asked how much workers at the GE plant in Clearwater make, Horne said they are paid the "prevailing wage rates for manufacturing employees in Florida," but declined to give a specific amount.

No decision has officially been made about the plant. Union officials said they will continue to fight to keep the facility open. Horne said GE is reviewing everything and will announce a decision in the near future.

 

 

 


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