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Keep It Made In Erie





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.

GE Frustrates Union Efforts at Good-Faith Bargaining

13 June, 2013

In a bulletin issued to members June 7, Local 506’s bargaining committee wrote: “After three meetings last week and two bargaining sessions this week (June 3 and 4), we regret having to inform you that there has been no real progress in our efforts to save the 950 jobs. At every bargaining session, your officers and the national union have repeatedly asked the Company for proposals to save jobs. As of yesterday (June 4), GE made no proposals and has not offered any concrete ideas to save even one job.”

(Click on the link below to download the bulletin as a PDF file.)

On "Day of Action", UE Members Rally to Save GE Jobs

12 June, 2013

May 31 was a national “Day of Action” by UE members in support of the ongoing fight by Local 506 members to keep their work and good-paying union jobs in Erie, Pennsylvania – a community that has made GE profitable for more than 100 years.

At its May 16-17 meeting, the UE General Executive Board adopted a “Statement of Solidarity” with Local 506 that called for support from all UE locals, starting with a day of action on May 31 in all three UE regions.

UE General Executive Board Pledges Solidarity with Local 506

17 May, 2013

Meeting at UE's national headquarters in Pittsburgh, the union's national leadership body, the General Executive Board, adopted a statement in solidarity with UE Local 506, which is fighting GE's plan to lay off 950 union members and transfer a significant portion of work from the Erie plant to a non-union plant in Fort Worth, Texas.

(You can download a pdf file of the GEB statement by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.)

Statement in Solidarity with UE Local 506

UE General Executive Board – May 16, 2013

Massive GE Jobs Rally Demands, 'Keep It Made in Erie'

17 April, 2013


Approximately 2,000 members of UE Local 506 rallied on Tuesday, April 16 just outside the East Gate of the Erie GE plant to defend jobs. They were joined by supporters from other unions and the community. GE announced on April 9 that it plans to lay off 950 UE 506 members by the end of the year, and to transfer a substantial portion of the work now done by UE members to its newly-built non-union plant in Fort Worth, Texas.

April 15, 2013 - PRESS RELEASE

15 April, 2013

UE Denounces GE Layoff Announcement;
Union Members Plan April 16 Rally to Keep Jobs in Erie

Erie, Pennsylvania – Union members at the General Electric plant in Erie will rally from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, to protest GE's plans for layoffs and transfer of work out of the Erie plant. The rally will take place at the East Gate of the GE Erie Works, at the corner of Water Street and Main Street in Lawrence Park Township, zip code 16511.