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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)

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• 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 ...

Wednesday, June 21st

GE Completes
Presentation of
Contract 'Offer'

On this page:

UE-GE Small Table Report
Wednesday, June 21st, 2000

As promised, Wednesday saw GE complete its "roll out" of what they termed the "bones" of a complete contract proposal. Unfortunately, someone had picked the bones clean by the time they hit the bargaining table with a dull thud. GE led off the morning with a proposal on Job and Income Security which provided for no jobs, no security, and precious few improvements of any kind.

GE did say they would renew SERO (but not the SERO window as yet) the Plant Closing Pension Option (PCPO), but added ZERO dollars to any of these benefits. They did offer a modest increase in the Voluntary Layoff and Voluntary Retirement Bonuses applicable to employees over 60 years old, and doubled the Plant Closing Education Allowance. There were also minor improvements in the Preferential Placement program. Other than that, not a single improvement in all of article XXIII was to be found.

In a mild surprise, the company also added to its pension proposals. GE followed the pattern set earlier in the day by renewing the $325 Special Supplement, but again without any increase in the amount. Nor did the company offer to up the regular $13 supplement.

The company did offer to extend the supplements beyond age 62 in light of the gradual increase in the age requirement to receive 80% Social Security benefits, but their proposal literally was half-baked. Rather than accept the UE proposal to extend the supplement until the 80% age level is reached, GE said they would only travel half the distance. As union negotiators noted, the company is apparently ready to sacrifice the Social Security leg of the "three-legged-stool" when it suits them.

In the same vein, GE had nothing whatever to offer to age 65 retirees who will also face the same problem as the age to get full Social Security benefits heads towards 67. This raising of the Social Security age was legislated during ex-GE employee Ronald Reagan’s administration. Naturally, the company disclaims responsibility. The one bright spot in this round of proposals was some improvement in the survivorship options. GE survivors can indeed use the help.

With the exception of an increase in the weekly Short Term Disability (STD) benefit, the rest of the day was devoted to a variety of minor modifications to various benefits. While some of these were worthwhile, GE’s main concern clearly was to propose nothing that will cost them any money to speak of.

It was a lackluster day to be sure, any hope that GE was saving the best for last was dashed when they set forth their wage offer, which was underwhelming to say the least ... and, it included no COLA improvements.

This then was the sum total of the offer for a new National Contract from the world’s most profitable corporation.

One additional note of interest. GE, has insisted that all benefit plans define the word "spouse" as excluding any and all same-sex domestic partners. Quite a commentary about a company that calls itself "an equal opportunity employer."

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 Wednesday. CBC members completed review of pension improvement proposals, despite the company’s "poor-mouth" claims that our proposals were too "rich." UE local representatives weighed-in on the counterattack against GE’s demand for drastic increases in prescription costs for current employees as well as retirees. The increases aimed at retirees are particularly insulting, given that the ink is barely dry on the pensioners increase that was grudgingly granted on May 1.

Subcommittee members also demanded that GE diversify the trustees of the pension plan. Current plan trustees are drawn exclusively from the ranks of highly-compensated GE management-level employees who diligently manage the assets of the pension trust in the best interests of GE as opposed to the best interests of the retirees and plan participants.

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, Joyce Sumner, Local 332, and UE International Representative Chris Townsend.

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Contract Language
Subcommittee Report

The Contract Language Subcommittee met through the day Wednesday as well, with UE local representatives scoring GE for their refusal to seriously address legitimate demands for preferential hiring improvements. Company schemes to "screen out" long-service GE workers seeking preferential hiring with "peer review panels" and concocted testing procedures were exposed and denounced. Subcommittee members also lambasted the company for its refusal to provide adequate information on existing job openings, as well as their refusal to permit preferential hiring into so-called "subsidiary" and tax-shelter created companies.

Demands were made to eliminate the waiting week, and to uncouple Income Extension Aid (IEA) from unemployment compensation. In addition, CBC members rallied to push GE to dramatically improve the on-site emergency medical situation in numerous company locations, and to force the company to test and monitor the health of those employees exposed to potentially dangerous substances on-the-job. Various problems regarding company blocking of employee upgrading were also discussed.

UE was represented at the Contract Language Subcommittee by co-chair Pat Rafferty, Local 506, Nita Gonzales, Local 1010, Bob Brown, Local 332, and Betsy Potter, Local 618.

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