The announcement is not likely to be a big surprise to many people around Erie. This facility was, for generations, Erie's biggest employer.
At one point, the number of jobs at GE was well into five figures, but those numbers have been eroding as time has past.
If this happens the way it's been laid out, GE will employ only about 2,000 people in Erie, which is more bad news from the company who's motto used to be, "We bring good things to life".
GE plans to stop making locomotives and locomotive kits in Lawrence Park, moving that production to Fort Worth Texas, slashing 575 hourly jobs here.
Richard Simpson, Vice President of GE Transportation, says, "GE remains very committed to the Erie community. Even if this should occur, Erie would remain our largest facility in GE Transportation."
The next move will be talks with the Union, but if the plan stays 'as is,' after their exchange, the changes and cuts would start in the second quarter of next year. GE cited a downturn in North American business and increasing international competition.
"We are in the middle of the toughest market we have ever seen," explained Simpson, "and we have had to make some very tough decisions with regards to where we place the very limited production that we have."
Simpson says the layout of the local plant and wage rates are also part of the decision. This becomes the latest economic gut punch from GE and for some, no doubt renews fears about the future.
"This remains one of our largest engineering presence in all of GE Transportation and one of two engineering hubs in the world," said Simpson.
Reporter, Shawn Lafferty responded to that comment, "That sounds like pay no attention to the man behind the curtain when that man is handing out pink slips and turning out the lights."
Simpson replied, "Even if this action occurs, GE as a company, will have 5,500 to 6,000 in the state of Pennsylvania and 2,000 in Erie, Pennsylvania."
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