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.
(Download the Local 506 bulletin by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.)
The union bulletin says, "During two months of bargaining, GE has provided UE with information which contains both production and employment records for both Erie and Texas. In addition, union officials have obtained substantial production information from shop leaders including information on production in Texas." The union had the data analyzed by James Schaffner of Schaffner, Knight, Minnaugh & Company. The union bulletin reports, "Mr. Schaffner reviewed a large volume of financial records including publicly filed or reported documents and other materials and determined that as of April the Fort Worth plant takes substantially more labor hours to build a locomotive than it does in the Erie plant. With respect to locomotive production, Schaffner concluded: 'The Erie Plant’s production [efficiency] is twice that of the Fort Worth facility at April 30, 2013.'”
Local 506 President Scott Duke commented, “This financial analysis demonstrates why the Erie plant was so important to the company earning $5 billion in record setting revenues in 2012. Our union is doing something right. We managed to help this company make over a billion dollars in profits last year and get off to a very strong 2013.” Duke continued, “Give us a chance and we will outperform Caterpillar (GE's competitor in the locomotive business) every day of the week as we always have.”.
President Duke added: “We have repeatedly said that UE Local 506 members in Erie build the best locomotives and OHV wheels in the world and Mr. Schaffner’s conclusions fully support our case. GE needs to keep the 950 jobs here in Erie. Our proposal to keep all of the 950 jobs here along with more than $20 million in savings is the best solution for our members, for the community, and for GE’s profits.”
In addition to the local union's shop bulletin, the union's announcement was also the top front-page news story in today's edition of the Erie Times-News.