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UE-GE National Contract Negotiations



Week of 6.19:
• Saturday, 6.24
• Friday, 6.23
• Thursday, 6.22
• Wednesday, 6.21
• Tuesday, 6.20
• Monday, 6.19

Large Table:
Thursday, 6.15
Wednesday, 6.14
• Tuesday, 6.13
Thursday, 6.8
Wednesday, 6.7
• Tuesday, 6.6
• Thursday, 6.1
• Wednesday, 5.31
Tuesday, 5.30
Opening Statement

(full text)

• Back to main UE-GE Contract 2000 Information page

Online Fliers

Our on-line fliers, available for printing, posting and distribution:

The GE Pension Plan: Giving Us the Business

Waging a Struggle

GE's Diet COLA

• Prescription for Disaster

Insure Our Health — Not GE's Wealth!

Get Up-Stand Up for Contract 2000

GE's Competition? There Isn't Any!

More Info

• UE has represented thousands of General Electric employees under a UE-GE national contract since 1938.

• We are one of only two unions holding a national agreement with GE.

• There are 14 unions with GE members which have joined together in the Coordinated Bargaining Committee (CBC) of GE unions.

• UE-GE Contract 2000 Archives page ...

Tuesday, June 20th

GE Demands
'Reverse COLA'
For Medical Coverage

On this page:

UE-GE Small Table Report
Tuesday, June 20th, 2000

As promised, General Electric began with a roll-out of their proposals concerning medical insurance. The company did offer some improvements here and there, but these were merely the "hors d’oeuvres" leading to a main course of massive cost shifting to employees. The centerpiece of GE’s attack is a "reverse COLA", under which employees will be on the hook for automatic contribution increases every year that GE’s claimed "per family unit" medical costs go up to any appreciable degree. 

Under GE’s proposal, the company's aggregate medical costs could actually go down (as they have in recent years) and employees’ contributions would still go up if the "family unit costs" go up. If this wasn’t bad enough, the company also proposed big increases in prescription co-pays — including those for retirees — as well as a 33% increase in the Health Care Preferred (HCP) office visit co-pay.

Another item concerned a new definition of "reasonable, necessary, and customary" under which employees could be denied certain prescription drugs or would be obliged to have "the least intensive level of care" as determined by some benefits administrator for medical conditions.

Naturally, the entire union small table committee refused to sit still for such major concessions and told GE that they were totally unacceptable. GE chief Negotiator Dennis Rocheleau offered his usual glib defense of company proposals, but in the area of the high level of co-pays for generic drugs even he was forced to admit that GE "led the pack."

GE did offer improvements in preventive care schedules, the lifetime maximums, the dental schedule, and hearing aids among other improvements. For the most part the company vision care proposal amounted to only $5 increases, however. These and other improvements were overshadowed by what is clearly GE’s worst insurance takeaway proposals in recent and not so recent memory.

In the afternoon, GE made an initial pension offer which can best be described as microscopic. Its $25 billion pension surplus notwithstanding, GE offered only tiny improvements in basic pensions and absolutely nothing on early retirement, pension supplements, disability pensions, or integration of supplements with the rising Social Security age. GE did offer a career earnings pension "update" as well as a modest reduction in the level of mandatory pension contributions. Nevertheless, even by GE standards the company’s opening gambit on pensions was miserly. We have no intention, however, of playing Cratchit to GE’s Scrooge.

One note of interest; GE, which proclaims itself as the company which "brings good things to life", proposed to eliminate coverage for fertility treatments. On Wednesday, GE will make proposals on job and income security and wages.

UE was represented at the small table by General President John Hovis and UE-GE Conference Board Secretary Steve Tormey.

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Pension and Insurance
Subcommittee Report

The Pension and Insurance Subcommittee met through the day on Tuesday. UE local representatives joined delegates from other CBC unions in mounting a steady barrage of outrage aimed at improving GE’s inferior pension plan, and denouncing company demands for more medical and prescription cost shifting.

GE’s "three-legged-stool" retirement concept was roundly and soundly condemned, and specific demands for real and substantial pension improvements were driven home.

Considerable time was also spent making the case for improvements in short and long-term disability benefits. Subcommittee members also demanded that GE fully negotiate the terms of Health Care Preferred (HCP), the plan to which nearly 80% of the GE workforce is enrolled.

UE was represented at the Pension and Insurance Subcommittee table by Dave Adams, Local 506; Chris Barrickman, Local 731; Ted Bradley, Local 1010; Bill Callahan, Local 751 and Joyce Sumner, Local 332.

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Contract Language
Subcommittee Report

The Contract Language Subcommittee met simultaneously, with UE local representatives adding their voices to a chorus of denunciations aimed at GE’s relentless downsizing.

Subcommittee co-chair and UE Local 506 Business Agent Pat Rafferty blasted GE’s refusal to seriously address the needs of its workforce in the critical area of job security. Job security issues consumed this Subcommittee's entire day, with delegates demanding an end to GE’s phony 45 day "bargaining" over job transfers, outsourcing of jobs due to "capacity" issues, and erosion of jobs via a host of company schemes and subterfuges.

Subcommittee members also demanded that Job and Income Security issues must be made subject to arbitration, and that the company must be made to re-invest in U.S. plants and equipment as a job-saving measure.

Substantial discussion regarding experiences with "Job Preservation Steering Committees" yielded ample evidence that GE management is uncommitted to the preservation of anything other than the promotion of their own corporate careers.

UE was represented at the Contract Language Subcommittee by Pat Rafferty, Local 506; Betsy Potter, Local 618; Nita Gonzalez, Local 1010 and UE International Representative Chris Townsend.

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