The membership and executive board of UE Local 506 have spoken. After several meetings, the union votes to enter into decision bargaining with GE over the company’s layoff plan.
The announcement came late this afternoon after the Executive Board of the Union met with Governor Tom Wolf. The Governor applauded the decision by the union, following GE’s recent announcement of its plan to move 575 jobs out of Erie and to shut down locomotive production.
Wolf brought up past negotiations the state has had with the company, saying in 2016 then Deputy Secretary of Labor and Industry made offers to GE to keep jobs in Erie, but the company rejected the plan.
With very little faith in changing the outcome again, the Governor says if this plan goes through, he will pull all the resources available to help.
“We will work with the bargaining unit here to make sure whatever transition there is happens as smoothly as possible to make this transition work,” says Governor Wolf.
Scott Slawson, UE Local 506 President, says, “these guys, our members, are fighters. They are going to fight right to the very end and we are going to go down swinging.”
Erie is not alone; it was announced today that General Electric will close its manufacturing facility in Rochester, New York next year. GE officials say less than 100 jobs will be impacted. That work will move to China.
“We dont hold out much faith based oin their track record,” says Slawson, “but they will give it one more go around we hope they will bargain with us fairly and earnestly [and] want to save jobs in this community”.
Governor Wolf says, “I am going to work hard… first, to try and get them to see right here and not make the decision that I think that they think they already made, but I will do what I need to do to make any transition as smooth as possible.”
They will sit down in the next few days. They have a 60 day window for bargaining; from the time of the announcement, both can vote to extend it and within 5 days they have to sit down and at least start the conversation.
Slawson explains a little about how the process will go. “Our plan of action will evolve; it will change and over time, and quite honestly, you don’t let the other side know what you are going to do.”