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UE-GE National Contract Negotiations

GE on Pension Increase: 'Not At This Time'

GE Retirees
Their RAGE

Members of the UE Local 506 Retirees' Association (RAGE) demonstrate for a sorely-needed pension increase.

ERIE, Pa., April 11, 2002 — Members of the Retirees Association of General Electric (R.A.G.E.) demonstrated today for an increase in pensions for all GE retirees. Dozens of sign-carrying RAGE members marched from the UE Local 506 union hall to an area just across from the east gate at GE’s sprawling Erie works to press their case. They were joined by members from Locals 506 and 618, including many department stewards who came out of the plant to join the rally.

RAGE President Charlie Fry pointed out that it has been three years since there has been any increase for GE pensioners. Fry talked about many calls he had received from retirees who need a raise, including a number who could no longer make RAGE meetings because they had been forced to return to work to make ends meet. General Electric has stated recently in reply to General President John Hovis’ appeal for a retirees increase that it has no intention of doing so "at this time" (see: UE Calls on GE to Increase Retirees' Pensions).

'Demonstrating For Pension Increases
... from a Company Making Billions'

Fry stated that the fight would nevertheless continue. Nearly two dozen RAGE members are planning to attend the annual GE stockholder’s meeting on April 23, 2003 in Charlotte, NC. where they will join with GE retirees from other parts of the country to demand an increase. Both UE Local 506 President Randy Majewski and president-elect Frank Fusco pledged the continuing support of Local 506 to RAGE. Fusco stated it was a shame that retirees were forced to demonstrate for pension increases in light of GE’s billions of dollars in profits.

GE Conference Board Secretary Steve Tormey also addressed the rally. He noted that the Company claims that the average GE hourly retiree receives $800 a month in pension. Not only is that entirely inadequate he said, but retirees with spouses are spending nearly $300 per month merely to participate in Medicare and the post-65 insurance plans that the Union has negotiated with GE, leaving precious little for other necessities. Instead of offering relief for this situation, he stated that GE has strongly implied that it will seek to saddle retirees with even more insurance costs in upcoming National Contract negotiations.

Tormey said that the Union would renew its demand for pension COLA in the upcoming negotiations for past and future retirees, and would strenuously resist any attempts by the Company for more insurance cost shifting to retirees as well.

Fry noted that RAGE will also be out in force at the upcoming Contract Rally in Erie, scheduled for Saturday, May 17.

• MORE PHOTOS: UE Local 506 Website

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