UE Local 332 Statement on the Conclusion of Bargaining with GE To Save Our Plant
HUDSON FALLS, N.Y. — “It is clear to us now that GE is just going through the motions to fulfill a legal and contractual obligation and never seriously considered an alternative to moving to Clearwater Florida,” said Scott Gates, Local Union 322 President.
Union officials, clearly discouraged, frustrated, and disappointed by the negotiations process.
They say GE never put forth a proposal during the negotiation period.
“It wasn’t much of a negotiation. It takes two sides to negotiate and only one side was willing to bargain and that was the union,” said Gene Elk, UE International Representative.
Earlier this week, the union proposed a plan that would’ve cut 10% of its staff, and included securing more than $20 million in State Aid to update equipment in the plant.
They wanted an additional $6 million per year in labor cost savings, on top of the $22 million in public financing that we were offering to try and acquire for the facility.
Elk says that would’ve meant a wage cut of $17.89 an hour per employee.
Union officials expressed significant disappointment in elected officials, especially governor Cuomo. But vowing to continue their fight, they said they’ll continue to push elected officials to do what’s right.
“Even though we’re really disappointed in the Elected Officials outside of this town and we’re going to keep pushing them hard because they have an obligation to this community to do the right thing and to defend these decent factory jobs,” said Peter Knowlton, UE NE Region President.
Christine Horne, a spokesperson for GE says in a statement to YNN that the proposed closure and move to Clearwater is designed to reduce costs and help the company remain competitive, and as it stands, the union’s proposal falls well short of achieving the savings and efficiencies that would be generated by the proposed move to Clearwater. She adds that no final decision has been made by GE.
GE submitted the following statement Sunday:
This afternoon, we concluded our meetings with the union because they informed us that they did not have additional proposals to discuss.
The union’s allegations about our engagement in decision bargaining are completely unfounded. We have negotiated in good faith for 60 day and have taken the bargaining process extremely seriously.
As it stands, the union’s proposal falls well short of achieving the savings and efficiencies that would be generated by the proposed move to Clearwater. These savings and efficiencies are required to address the fact that we are losing money and to make us competitive long-term in the marketplace.
We have given the union detailed feedback on their proposal and have been specific about the cost savings needed to be generated.
We have told the union that we remain ready and willing to review alternative proposals and continue discussions at any time through tonight should they wish to contact us. The decision bargaining period ends Sunday at 11:59 p.m.
We have not made a final decision.
Upon conclusion of the bargaining period, we will take the time to thoroughly review and consider everything that’s been presented to us and discussed over the last 60 days before announcing a final decision. After we make a decision, we will notify the union and our employees first.
UE Local 506 Officers and Members Picket with Local 332 at their Rally in front of the GE Fort Edwards Plant