Locomotive production in Erie will be moved to Fort Worth, Texas and 575 jobs eliminated locally. This coming after General Electric and UE Local 506 failed to reach an agreement during decision bargaining.
GE tells us they notified employees today about the decision to move forward with locomotive production and those jobs to Texas. This coming after 60 days at the table in an effort to reach an agreement with UE 506.
“I don’t think the intention was there for GE to come to an agreement for us,” says UE 506’s President, Scott Slawson… GE keeps saying they remain committed to this area. Basically, the proposal we had put in front of them in the final hours, there was tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions in potential savings. In return, we were asking for long-term commitment. It was just not something GE was willing to do.”
General Electric says otherwise. They say they put together a great proposal. Richard Simpson of General Electric says, “we offered to preserve work, meaning keep 35% of the locomotive volume in this plant to save more than 200 jobs, to offer enhanced retirement incentives for another 200 employees.” But, Simpson also tells us that they announced to employees Tuesday they will shut down locomotive production in Erie, moving forward with the transfer of work to Fort Worth, Texas. GE saying that impacts 575 jobs in Erie.
“We’ve not had a significant North American order in a significant amount of time. We have to compete. This is a facility that, although we’ve made great progress over the last six years, it is still one of our least competitive facilities and we have to compete.”
Simpson says there is a six-month hold from when they first announced the plans in July before anything can happen and they will begin the process next year. “It seemed like every time we thought we were closing ground that goal line got moved, and we just had to keep going.”
UE 506 telling us they did file a grievance against the company which could result in a strike, but that’s still being discussed and could be worked out. They say they will not stop fighting.
GE tells us the Erie plant will remain strong, with 1,000 production jobs remaining in Erie and 2,000