Press Statement from UE Local 506 President Scott Duke
June 23, 2013Even though tonight we were not able to reach an agreement, our union remains committed to saving the 950 jobs which GE is proposing to move to Texas. We are now evaluating all possible options and UE officials will be speaking with company officials Monday. Two years ago we negotiated an agreement with GE getting modest wages increases and in exchange made deep and painful cuts to health care and pensions. GE made a deal with us and tonight we rejected their attempt to renege on that deal. Even though our primary focus was on saving jobs, we did place $26 million in savings in work rules and efficiency on the table which the Company rejected. GE Transportation made billions of dollars largely from our labor and leads the world in locomotive production, winning GE business of the year. We helped them win the Super Bowl and all along they were planning to fire the team. They engaged in the secret transfer of work while we were helping them make those profits. This whole bargaining process was an attempt to get us to approve something that they had already started to carry out. We met with our members last week and they strongly instructed us not to accept the wage freezes, two-tier wages, mandatory overtime, and other types of wage cutting demanded by GE. Under the terms of our contract, GE is not permitted to transfer our work until October 2013 so we are not closing the door on future negotiations. We are going to quickly bring our leadership together and evaluate our next moves including pursuing existing NLRB charges, additional legal challenges, and all possible labor actions. We remain as committed to preserving our jobs as GE is committed to increasing its profits. For us it’s about families and the community that made GE great over the past 100 years.