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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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The GE Pension Plan: Giving Us the Business

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GE's Competition? There Isn't Any!

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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 ...

Thursday, June 22nd

Big Gap Remains
Between GE, Unions

On this page:

UE-GE Small Table Report
Thursday, June 22nd, 2000

Not much to report today, and considering the two preceding days, this constitutes an improvement.

For most of Thursday, the union committee met together to fashion a response to GE’s two-day "roll-out." When the two sides finally faced each other well into the afternoon, the Union reviewed each and every GE proposal telling the company which was acceptable, and which was rejected. The Union side then proceeded to tell GE which of the CBC list of contract demands was still "on the table." A number of issues, for the most part minor, were cleaned up. There were improvements in STD and LTDI benefits, and some of GE’s less controversial insurance proposals, where they represented improvements to the insurance plan, were agreed to.

But, for the most part, Thursday was an exercise in clearing away the underbrush at the edge of a wide chasm. On one point both the union and the company are in full agreement — the size of the gap separating the two sides on major issues is big. Maybe even as big as one of GE’s bulging vaults in Fairfield.

In no particular order, the issues of medical insurance, wages and COLA, job and income security, and pensions are nowhere near resolution with just three days to go before the contract expires. It would appear the GE is taking one of what they call their "big swings" at UE and the entire CBC, particularly on the issue of medical insurance cost shifting.

The appropriate response to GE’s "reverse COLA" and other insurance takeaways was delivered today by the members of UE Locals 506 and 618 in Erie, Pennsylvania. There the members en masse covered their noses with band-aids in an attempt to combat the stench of GE’s proposals which have wafted their way into the atmosphere all the way from New York City.

Elsewhere around the chain, union tee shirts, buttons, and other paraphernalia are out in abundance as GE union members from New England to California are in motion in support of their representatives in New York. Tomorrow, a CBC rally in downtown New York near NBC headquarters will underscore our demands for simple justice from this industrial Goliath.

Much can, and no doubt will, happen in the next three days. Be sure to check in here for the gory details tomorrow [In a report to be posted Saturday morning].

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 all day on Thursday. UE local representatives joined CBC union participants in mounting a push to freeze all current medical and prescription costs to GE employees. Added to this, heavy pressure was applied to force the company to improve the inadequate mental health and substance abuse treatment benefits, pointing out that only 5% of applicants for inpatient substance abuse treatment are currently accepted. Additional time was spent demanding that the company improve dental, vision, and preventive health screening benefits.

In an afternoon grand finale, the company was severely chastised by the union for their deliberate treatment of the GE pension trust as a business as opposed to a fund that exists for the sole benefit of the participants. The company had little to say in response to union accusations that the pension trust is being hoarded in anticipation of political changes that would some day in the future allow GE to grab billions of dollars in "over-funding" for their own use. Union requests for various pension improvements were derided by the company as "too rich".

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

UE local representatives opened the day at the Contract Language Subcommittee table by joining the chorus of voices that hit the company hard for its rabidly anti-union behavior during various attempts by unorganized GE workers to unionize. Outlandish anti-union company conduct was pointed out in recent organizing efforts in New Hampshire, Indiana, West Virginia, and Mexico. Despite company claims that they have a "good" record when non-union GE workers seek to organize, UE and CBC union delegates treated the company to example after example of their shameful "Union Avoidance" conduct, including the sponsorship of an anti-union class at the company management academy in Crotonville, New York.

Also in the morning, delegates made the case for improvements in the arbitration procedure, in particular an expansion of issues covered by the expedited arbitration process.

Later in the day improvements were demanded in the salaried, new hire, and night shift progression schedules. The company was also reminded that in lieu of additional overtime a substantial number of new hires should be placed on the payroll. To round out the session, a push for additional paid leave was made by the unions.

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

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