Local 506 today distributed to members a bulletin summarizing the final session of the 60-day "decision bargaining" with GE over its plan for movement of work out of Erie. (Download the Local 506 bulletin by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.)
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Keep It Made In Erie
RECENT UPDATES LISTED BELOW
The members of UE Local 506 – our biggest local, representing 3,500 workers at the Erie, Pennsylvania plant of General Electric – are in a major fight for jobs. On April 9, management of GE Transportation announced to United Electrical Workers (UE) Local 506 that it intends to transfer a substantial amount of work done by our members to its newly-built non-union facility in Fort Worth, Texas. Local 506 members build locomotives and wheel motors for large mining trucks, as well as components for both, and GE plans to move major portions of both the locomotive and motorized wheel work to Texas.
According to the work transfer notice provided to UE, GE’s decision may result in the loss of up to 950 jobs by the end of 2013. GE pays substantially lower wages in Fort Worth than in Erie, and its attack on union jobs and wages is part of its so-called "competitive wage" strategy – a policy aimed at driving down the incomes of GE's manufacturing and other workers to near-poverty levels. This attack comes despite the fact that GE Transportation – GE's Erie-based division – made record profits in 2012. After the division's profits more than doubled between 2010 and 2011 to $757 million, they grew another 36 percent in 2012 to $1 billion.
The members of Local 506 are in a fighting mood, and they kicked off the battle to save jobs with a giant rally on April 16 just outside the plant's East Gate. Leaders of the local, the UE Eastern Region, and the national union vowed to fight to preserve union jobs, union wages and union working conditions. "This cannot happen," Local 506 Business Agent Wayne Burnett said of the company's plans. UE Local 618 – the salary workers union in Erie – is also in the thick of this battle.
At approximately 1:00 a.m., Sunday, June 23, the officers of UE Local 506 released the following statement to the news media. The local officers will have additional information for their members on Monday.
Press Statement from UE Local 506 President Scott Duke
Union Vows to Continue Effort to Save 950 Jobs Despite GE’s Rejection of UE’s Offer
June 23, 2012
In a bulletin issued to union members today, UE Local 506 says that analysis by an independent financial expert of documents provided by GE shows that the Erie plant is twice as efficient as the new Fort Worth, Texas plant in building locomotives and off-highway vehicle (OHV) wheel motors. Since its April 9 announcement of plans to move work to Fort Worth and lay off 950 Local 506 members, GE has repeatedly claimed, without proof, that the Fort Worth plant is "20 percent more productive" than Erie.
A new bargaining bulletin from Local 506 reports on a proposal the union presented to GE yesterday. Local 506 negotiators Wayne Burnett, Scott Duke, Mike Hayes and Mike Ferritto were joined by UE General President Bruce Klipple for the June 17 session, as well as International Rep. Gene Elk. The bulletin (which you can download from the link below) says in part:
Local 506 today issue a news update on bargaining sessions with GE over the company's plans to move work out of Erie. You can download the complete bulletin at the link below.
The union update begins: