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UE-GE National Negotiations 2000

Waging a Struggle

Despite Jack Welch’s recent statement (or rather understatement) that General Electric is in a position to be "generous" with employees this year, GE workers can be forgiven for being skeptical. Many of us are struggling merely to maintain a decent standard of living. In most cases we have become absolutely dependent on either overtime or a working spouse or both to make ends meet.

Now the Company is saying that they will again make a presentation during upcoming contract negotiations on the subject of "compensation". What this has meant in the past is lots of data about the wages of so-called "competitors", as well as various slop shops GE digs up to justify a miserly wage proposal. It could also signal another attempt to impose "lump sum" payments in lieu of structural wage increases, or perhaps even another attack on our 10% night shift bonus as happened in 1994.

But on the subject of wages, keeping a few basic facts in mind should help bring "Generous Electric" to light.

FACT GE workers will realize only about a 1.6% increase in real wages per year on average before taxes during the term of the present Contract. Only unusually low levels of inflation, which now shows signs of accelerating, kept us from faring even worse.
FACT By contrast, GE’s net profits last year amount to a "wage" for the company of $1.2 Million an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That’s double what they netted just six years ago.
FACT Each GE worker is producing on average over $31,000 in net profits for the Company. That’s over two and one half times as much as any real or imagined competitor, foreign or domestic.
FACT Based on a 2,080 hour year, the average GE worker is running close to $2.00 an hour short of what the Bureau of Labor Statistics has determined is necessary to live on a "moderate" budget.
FACT In just the past three years, GE spent $51 Billion in acquisitions alone. If GE divided up just $1 Billion in equal shares to each employee represented by a union in the Coordinated Bargaining Committee (CBC), everyone would get a check for about $27,000.

Our Labor is What Creates GE’s Wealth in the First Place.
A Greater Share of That Wealth is Rightfully Ours.


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