Tough Bargaining Remains
As Contract Expiration Looms
New York – Saturday, June 18
|UNIFIED: 'GE workers have demonstrated beyond any doubt that they are a force to be reckoned with, a show of unity that will stand union members in good stead in the days, months, and years ahead.'
The penultimate day of bargaining has come and gone, but the goal of a decent and fair new National Contract remains elusive, hidden as it is behind a maze of obstacles.
The unions and GE met at the small table for more than nine hours today and a tough day of bargaining is anticipated tomorrow (Sunday) before the contract expires at midnight.
Chief among the obstacles is medical insurance, a problem caused by GE’s insistence on a new Health Choice plan.
Much Distance ...
Progress has been made in cutting the cost to employees, but much distance remains to be traveled. In addition, issues of new hires, wages, SERO - and more - are far from a resolution.
One significant development today was GE’s withdrawal of their demand that retirees pay for up to 10 percent of the cost of the Pensioners’ Prescription Drug Plan (PPDP), an onerous burden that GE has already imposed upon its salaried exempt retirees.
Another welcome development was the first sighting of a possible SERO window, though it remains to be seen if and how far this window might be cracked open.
Among other developments, the company upped its wage offer - though it remains far from generous - particularly considering the size and contents of GE’s vault.
But the most important development has been the tremendous display of support and solidarity in locals across the GE chain. GE workers have demonstrated beyond any doubt that they are a force to be reckoned with, and whatever happens tomorrow (Sunday), this show of unity will stand union members in good stead in the days, months, and years ahead.