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USA: United Electrical fight to keep 950 jobs in Erie

27 June, 2013IndustriALL affiliate United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE) vows to continue effort to save 950 jobs from being relocated, despite GE’s rejection of the union’s offer on 23 June.

In April 2013, General Electric (GE), based in the USA, announced that they would move production from Erie to Fort Worth in Texas causing 950 United Electrical (UE) local 506 members to be laid-off. GE plant in Erie builds locomotives and off-highway vehicle (OHV) wheel motors.

UE remains committed to saving the 950 jobs that GE is proposing to move to Texas.  The union is now evaluating all possible options and UE officials will be speaking with company officials. Under the current agreement in place between the company and UE, GE is not permitted to transfer the work until October 2013; the union is therefore not closing the door on future negotiations.

We are going to quickly bring our leadership together and evaluate our next moves including pursuing existing NLRB charges, additional legal challenges, and all possible labour actions. 

Said Scott Duke UE Local 506 president.

Two years ago UE negotiated a four-year agreement with GE getting modest wage increases and in exchange made deep cuts to health care and pensions. In this current round of bargaining the company has attempted to renege on that deal, a move firmly rejected by the Local 506.

The union’s proposal required the company to guarantee that none of the 950 jobs can be moved prior to 21 June, 2015, when the UE-GE National Agreement expires. In exchange, UE negotiators indicated a willingness to change some work rules and attendance procedures that would save the company US$ 26 million, but the company rejected the proposals.

UE National President Bruce Kipple reminded the company that UE made creative proposals to maintain all of the jobs and continue to keep the plant competitive. He repeatedly urged the company to give serious consideration to their creative proposals.