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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

Waging a Struggle

GE's Diet COLA

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Get Up-Stand Up for Contract 2000

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 ...

Friday, June 23rd

'Small Progress,
But Miles to Go'

On this page:

UE-GE Small Table Report
Friday, June 23rd, 2000

It’s D-Day minus two and counting and all is not well in New York City. GE, which earlier in the week had indicated it would be laying most of its cards on the table early, has instead opted for a "dribs and drabs" approach. This is apparently designed to keep everyone guessing about their ultimate plans as they leave us to ponder whether the best or worst is being saved for last.

But fortunately for the side of the angels, GE’s refusal thus far to come to grips with the major issues of the negotiations has provoked a wave of activity on the part of GE union members across the country. In Niles, Ohio, UE Local 751 members received 100% support on a petition backing the union’s program, and it was delivered to GE representatives here in New York. In Ontario, California, UE Local 1010 members were on schedule with a plant gate demonstration. UE Local 332 members in Ft. Edward, New York, decked themselves out in snake-adorned T-shirts carrying the message, "if provoked, I will strike." In Conneaut, Ohio, UE Local 731 members finished the task of filling up picket duty rosters. And in Erie, Pennsylvania, Local 506 and 618 members culminated an entire week’s worth of activity with something they call "band practice", during which the worker "musicians" have been known to create quite a din in the plant.

As for the more mundane world of the bargaining table, some small progress was made on Friday, but there’s miles to go before we sleep. The company attempted to demonstrate the worth of their pension proposals on the guaranteed minimum tables and the career earnings update to an unconvinced union committee. GE did come across with a useful "look back" provision to the joint and survivor option, but has yet to offer anything at all on the career formula, supplements, early retirement, or disability pensions.

GE put a few useful items on the table to modify Article XXIII, "Job and Income Security", but nothing that in any fundamental way impedes their job slashing tendencies, referred to by GE euphemistically as "flexibility." Nor was a SERO "window" anywhere to be found.

Perhaps the day’s most interesting development was the partial retreat by the company on a couple of its insurance cost shifting proposals. Withdrawn was a real stinkeroo to up the ante on doctor’s office visits under HCP by 33%. In addition, GE modified its horrendous "reverse COLA" proposal to make it somewhat less costly to its intended victims, GE workers. However, the very real danger of the attempted introduction of automatic increases in insurance contributions tied to increased medical plan costs is still lurking ominously. More than any other single issue, this horrendous company proposal threatens to derail the entire negotiations.

The day’s denouement consisted of an increase by GE in its previous wage proposal. The problem is that GE is moving upward at the approximate rate of a lead balloon. Nor was there any COLA improvement to be found for thirsty GE workers.

Still, Friday was a good day, not because of any great movement at the bargaining table, but because of the unity and solidarity displayed by GE workers here in New York City and across the country. Salud!

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 throughout the day, taking up a variety of issues.

Numerous problems with benefit plan enrollments were detailed, with appropriate solutions being offered by union members at the table.

In the afternoon, union negotiators were angered by GE’s stalling in response to critical requests for pension plan information. Subcommittee members demanded that GE come across with their projected figures for the growth of the already mammoth pension trust fund. Company representatives essentially blew off this reasonable and necessary request, obviously taking great care to further protect the GE pension "business". Tight with the pension bucks, and tight with the information about the pension bucks as well.

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

In the morning session, subcommittee members took the company to task for their unscrupulous conduct around the world.

GE’s refusal to recognize the rights of their Malaysian workers was exposed, and the company’s growth in vast sweatshop zones such as Mexico were laid out in detail. All this was met with a weak GE defense amounting to a claim that they followed the laws of whatever country they operate in. UE members hammered the company to do better, not to just hide behind a legal fig-leaf.

As the day progressed, union negotiators pushed for additional paid leave.

Various issues of concern to GE Apparatus Service Shop workers was also laid out, with demands being made for better tool, shoe, and meal allowances. Company behavior in managing the shops was blasted, particularly episodes where service shop workers were sent on-the-road to do the work of other laid-off GE workers. Also during the day a general push for wage and COLA increases was mounted.

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

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