Against GE's Greed
On January 14 and 15, about 20,000 General Electric
workers all across the country conducted
their first national strike in 33 years.
GE’s attack on our medical insurance by raising Health Care
Preferred (HCP) co-pays is simply outrageous. While GE is getting set to announce record profits of over $15 Billion for
2002, they are picking the pockets of their employees and pre-65 retirees. The HCP changes will amount to about a $30 Million
transfer to GE this year from employees and retirees. That’s about the value of the various retirement homes that the Company
has provided to Jack Welch.
The HCP increases hit GE workers hardest precisely when we need
help the most. That’s when we or our dependents are hospitalized, on multiple prescriptions, forced to see medical
specialists, and when we are laid off, on sick leave, or trying to get by on a fixed income as a retiree.
GE moans about rising insurance costs, but relative to
profits, their costs have declined substantially in recent years. In 1989 the insurance bill came to about 13.6%
of GE’s gross profits. In 2001, the last year for which figures are available, it amounted to only about 7% of GE’s
gross profits, a 48% decrease. We should all have it so tough.
Our country is in a health care crisis, over 40 million
people have no insurance, and GE is part of the problem. The health care industry is becoming dominated by a few giant
companies. GE likes it that way, because they are making big bucks selling them medical equipment and financing their expanding
empires through GE Capital. Small wonder they have turned a deaf ear to UE’s call for single payer national health
insurance which would give us all better health care for much less money.
GE has made it plain they want lots MORE insurance
cost shifting in national negotiations next June, including from post-65 retirees! Rolling over for them now is feeding the
So, once again, why the strike?
UE-GE Conference delegates summed it up in a
resolution adopted unanimously last month:
"We do not take this step [a strike]
lightly, but we are convinced that it is a necessary one not only in response to the HCP changes, but also in the longer run to help
safeguard all of our medical insurance programs that we have worked so hard to establish and improve over many years."
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of
One Gateway Center • Pittsburgh, PA 15222 • 412-471-8919