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.
On April 9, 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 facility in Fort Worth, 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.
According to UE Local 506 President Roger Zaczyk, GE was not truthful when it originally notified its employees and the Erie community in April 2011 that it was building a locomotive facility in Fort Worth, Texas. According to Zaczyk, “GE told us that the Fort Worth facility would be an ‘overflow’ facility and that the new Texas plant would only ‘complement’ the work performed by our members in Lawrence Park. We were repeatedly told that once Fort Worth started production, the Company had enough orders to keep both Erie and the new plant busy.”
“At no point prior to today, had GE informed us that the new Texas plant would have such a dramatic impact on our members’ jobs,” Zaczyk said. UE Local 506 will have constructive discussion with company representatives to keep jobs here in Erie. Under the terms of the labor contract, the UE-GE National Agreement, the company is now required to provide the union with detailed financial information about the work transfer and possible job loss. Once such information is received, UE will meet with GE officials to work on saving as many of the 950 jobs as possible.
“Every job is precious and we intend to fight for each one of them,” Zaczyk added. The Transportation division is currently the most profitable segment of all GE’s businesses and just received an internal company award in which it was named GE business of the year.
UE Local 506 currently represents more than 3,500 hourly employees in the Lawrence Park GE complex. GE primarily produces locomotives and motorized wheel sets for off-highway vehicles used in the mining industry in Lawrence Park. The Fort Worth GE plant opened late last year and started manufacturing motorized wheel sets and this year began assembling locomotives.
For more information, please contact UE Local 506 President-elect Scott Duke at 814-899-3108.