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Local 1010 Fights
GE Plans to Move
Jet Engine Jobs

Protesting GE in California ...     Local 1010 members at GE's Ontario, California plant
Local 1010 members protest the threat to their jobs at recent demonstrations outside the GE aircraft engine service facility.



Scottish Workers
Contend with GE’s
Hostility to Unions

GE’s best laid plans to exploit aircraft engine workers are encountering opposition at its Prestwick, Scotland facility as well as in southern California. The big GE facility in Prestwick, Caledonian Air, is being organized by the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU), a large British manufacturing union of 750,000 members. More than half of the roughly 1,000 Prestwick workers have joined the AEEU; the union demonstrated outside the plant gates in November in a demand for recognition.

In typical fashion, GE has not only rejected recognition of the union, but has threatened employees. The plant’s human resources director, Sam Thomson, wrote a letter to the union stating, "only non-represented shops in the GE organization are regarded as growth areas and enjoy the benefits of being so."

AEEU Regional Secretary Danny Carrigan has responded by writing the U.S. Embassy, Scottish elected officials and the government mediation body in protest. Under a new employment law effective next summer, union recognition will be automatic in workplaces where union membership is more than 50 percent of the workforce.

Local 1010 is fighting back against General Electric’s plan to transfer 125 jobs to company facilities in Scotland and Brazil. Local 1010 members, nearly all of whom are highly skilled mechanics, overhaul and maintain GE aircraft engines.

GE announced the proposed work transfer just before Christmas, citing lower orders, overcapacity and a need to "reduce total operating costs" across the aircraft engine division.

Local 1010 protested the announcement with demonstrations outside the plant on all three shifts on Jan. 13 and again on Feb. 3, when UE members were joined by aides to U.S. Rep. Joe Baca and state Assemblywoman Nell Soto. Both back the UE effort to stop the job movement.

The jobs in question are profitable for GE, the union says, and the proposed move has nothing to do with lower orders. GE recently reported net profits of $10.7 billion for 1999; more than $2 billion is attributable to the aircraft engine division.


GE created its own overcapacity in recent years by entering into joint ventures or acquiring facilities outright in Malaysia, Taiwan, Brazil and Poland, among other countries. GE bought American companies Greenwich Air and UNC. A "state of the art" repair facility is slated to open next year in China as a result of yet another GE joint venture.

Six negotiating sessions between the local union and GE since the December announcement have confirmed the company’s determination to seek out lower wages and higher profits worldwide. GE Aircraft Engine chief Robert McNerney, considered a leading contender to succeed CEO Jack Welch, has declared his intention to "step up our global sourcing effort."

Local 1010 has contacted state officials about the more than $2 million GE received through California’s Employment Training Panel program when the company hired more than 200 new mechanics in 1996-7. The program is intended to help employers with training costs, but presumes the workers to be retained a substantial length of time. The union intends to press for reimbursement by GE to the state if the jobs are now moved.

In addition, the union intends to keep the pressure on GE. Local 1010 has issued strike notices on expired grievances, an option under the UE-GE National Contract. "We may not be able to stop the GE train from taking our jobs, but we intend to throw everything we can on the tracks in the process," explains Local Pres. Ted Bradley.

UE News - 02/00

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