201 Delegate Reports from National GE Negotiations

Report from National Negotiations - Update 6

June 24th, 2019, 3:30am

By Adam Kaszynski

The CBC left negotiations at 3:00am this morning.  Our Bargaining Committee and the Company are still too far apart for a settlement. Negotiations are scheduled to continue tomorrow afternoon. Per Article XXXII (b) The 2015-2019 Agreement remains in full force and effect for now.  Check www.facebook.com/GEworkersunited.org and this page tomorrow for continuing updates. Its a good time to get together with your coworkers during break time and share your thoughts with one another.  Stick together.

Report from National Negotiations - Update 5

June 23th, 2019, 9:00pm

By Adam Kaszynski

Over the past 24 hours it has been difficult to come up with a suitable update in the eleventh hour - when anything can change and so much is on the line.  We have 3 hours until our contract expires.  I couldn’t honestly tell you what a final offer would look like yet. The whole picture is still missing to many pieces.  Most of 201 members most important issues are still up in the air.  We’ve all heard some union people say “GE is not your friend.” The company seems to take a stronger position – that employees are their enemy. That you, the people that create all the wealth they squander, are an impediment not an asset.  That their shareholders and executives are more important then the high service workers that built the company, and the newer hires who are its future.  They still have time to come around on a fair contract – or we will have to take the strongest position. 

Fight corporate greed.

Report from National Negotiations - Update 4

Saturday, June 22, 6:00pm

By Adam Kaszynski

We are in the final push.  The contract expires in 30 hours, and there is still much work to do.  However, this is when things start to move very quickly, so where we are at can change in seconds.  Here is what is important: Our bargaining committee is fighting like hell to secure a good contract – but remember both parties must agree for their to be a settlement.  Whether any potential Tentative Agreement will be one that is acceptable to delegates and the rest of the membership remains to be seen.  Like I said, there is still A LOT of work to be done in this very short time period.  Be prepared.  Local 201 delegates have committed to only considering a FAIR contract.  The ingredients of what 201 members expect has been made clear to the Company.  We’re all in for a long 30 hours.  The demand and momentum for a fair contract you all built over the 2019 contract campaign remains intact and strong.  We stand behind our negotiating committee!

Report from National Negotiations – Update 3
Friday, June 21, 2019, 3:00pm
By Adam Kaszynski

Last night, shortly after I sent in “Update 2”, the CBC suspended negotiations with GE due to the Companies extreme and unrealistic proposals on healthcare, overtime provisions, pensions, and wages. In the CBC statement lead negotiator Jerry Carney said “GE has to know that the terms it put on the table will lead to only one result – a general strike of all GE employees. We told GE this afternoon that we were suspending negotiations and would return to the table when they had a decent proposal to offer.” Local 201’s delegates agree. We have been clear the membership is sick of givebacks. As I mentioned in my last column for the 201 newspaper, Overtime Provisions must be protected. Management ASKS US to work overtime, it is at their discretion. If the company doesn’t want to pay as much premium they can instruct management on how to limit the OT they offer. Management already has the right to ask us in or not. Our contract doesn’t need to change – they already have the right to mismanage the business. OT provisions are enforceable job security language, that encourages GE to hire more workers from our communities into union jobs.

Negotiations are still suspended as of the time this is being written . The CBC leads did meet with the company today to discuss the suspension of negotiations, that was a discussion – not negotiations. When negotiations resume (hopefully very soon) delegates will sit behind the main table and witness. The mood at CBC headquarters was fierce last night after the CBC suspended negotiations. We were proud our negotiating committee took the stand they did and gave them a standing ovation.

This morning the CBC, delegates, and members from the area showed up in full force to support GE Retirees protesting outside the GE Global Operations Center in downtown Cincinnati. Retirees built GE, and the Company totally disregards their important contributions and attacks their benefits. One sign read “Where is your loyalty GE? We gave you ours.” A question that deserves an answer. John Lewis, IUE-CWA 761 Retiree with 40 years’ service at (former) GE Appliance Park, KY put the company on notice: “We must all say to GE “enough is enough!” We must no longer stand by silently as the 1% continues to take from workers and retirees. Reducing benefits while reaping billions of dollars in profit. Paying millions to their top executives like Jeff Immelt. In our country one tenth of 1% controls 90% of all assets in America, and still they are not satisfied. And they never will be. As long as we accept the greedy appetite of corporate America, the 1% will continue to look to reduce and take from us – workers and retirees. Take from us our earned and promised benefits to meet the demands of their greedy self-indulgence. Somehow, they need more, and we ought to be able to get by on less. They have proven time and time again, they care nothing about their workers. Never have, and never will.”

The contract expires Sunday night. A lot of people are asking, “what if we don’t have a Tentative Agreement by June 23rd?” Turn to page 106 in our contract book, Article XXXII “Modification and Termination” section (b): “If settlement is not reached by June 23rd 2019…this National Agreement shall continue in full force and effect until the tenth day following written notice given by either Company or the Union of its intention to terminate such Agreement, during which time there shall be no strike or lockout”. Solidarity!

*Breaking* CBC GE NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE 17

June 20, 2019, 7:00pm (excerpt)

CBC SUSPENDS NEGOTIATIONS. GE NOT BARGAINING ON KEY ISSUES

“The key issues of wages, overtime, health benefits and retirement have not yet been agreed upon. The parties met today and the Company provided an amended Overtime offer and a proposed wage package. Both are entirely unacceptable to the CBC Unions and our members.
​It has been 50 years since the last contract strike at GE, but we have not forgotten how to fight for our rights. IUE-CWA Conference Board Chairman Jerry Carney stated that “We are prepared to work around the clock with GE to negotiate a decent contract. But GE has to know that the terms it put on the table will lead to only one result – a general strike of all GE employees. We told GE this afternoon that we were suspending negotiations and would return to the table when they had a decent proposal to offer”.
​We will keep you updated if and when negotiations continue. Remember, solidarity is our strength.”

-       www.GEworkersunited.org

Report from National Negotiations - Update 2

June 20th, 2019, 5:30pm

By Adam Kaszynski

GE negotiations always go into the eleventh hour. So today we spent the morning scrambling to change flights and extend stays at the hotel rooms – until at least the evening of June 25th.  That means Bill Maher, Freddy, and Myself will not be at the June 25th Membership meeting in person.  However, 201 will have a face to face special membership meeting to go over a Tentative Agreement, should one be reached, before 201 holds a vote.  But as of right now, the 25th will not likely be our contract informational meeting.  Details on that meeting and voting will be made public as soon as we have an accurate sense of timeline.

The current contract expires on Sunday, June 23rd at Midnight. Negotiations are usually scheduled to conclude with GE’s final offer on this day.  Usually, a 10-day contract extension is  scheduled to conduct the voting process. Then the National Negotiating Committee votes on recommendation of GE’s final offer.  Then, the Conference Board delegates vote on GE’s “final offer”.  If approved by delegates, it becomes a Tentative Agreement and goes back to all IUE-CWA GE Locals . Then Local 201 Policy Board votes on a recommendation.  Information and a summary of pros and cons of TA is released to membership, followed by a recommendation vote of the 201 Stewards Council.  Then we will hold Local 201 Special GE Membership Contract Info Meetings (12 noon and 3:30pm).  Sometime shortly after that meeting, the membership votes, 6am – 5pm at 2-96 Auditorium and the Union Hall.

No one can tell us how long this will take, when we might have a “handshake” deal, or when the locals will be voting if a Tentative Agreement is reached. We still don’t even know how long we will be in Cincinnati.  The much talked about “new process” for negotiations, means longer hours of negotiating for the committee, and GE’s unwillingness to move on some key issues means this will likely go to the very end or longer.

The retirement, healthcare, and contract language sub committees have been meeting internally and with the Company since our last update.  However, delegates are not part of these meetings, and no new information has been released to delegates.  In order to curb rumors the subcommittees are not updating delegates on the progress of negotiations at this point, which can be frustrating for us (and all 201 members).  The delegates will be invited to witness negotiations once subcommittees stop meeting and the Negotiating Committee returns to the main table.  I’m hearing this is likely to happen very soon, but subject to change. 

Freddy and I are ready to get to the Main Table and get a better sense of where the parties are at.  From what we are hearing there has been little movement in negotiations, and no real movement on our key issues.  For years GE has viewed pensions, healthcare, retiree benefits, overtime provisions, and more as “legacy challenges” that are antiquated and uncompetitive – contrary to their “debt strategy” that hurt their “bottom line”. Let the Company know how you feel about the prospect of being asked to take more concessions.  I really don’t think they get it yet. 

We have been conference calling the Hall every day to check in with the rest of the 201 Executive Board.  It is nice to hear reports from home about what’s going on in the shop.  Keep making noise, we can hear you (and so can they).

Q & A

Stewards have been sending in some questions from the floor.  Keep them coming and we will try to answer whatever we can in these updates.  You can also email [email protected] any questions or concerns.  If we can address them in future updates we will.

Q: “Let’s say a Tentative Agreement comes back to the membership and we don’t like it. WHAT HAPPENS IF WE VOTE REJECTION?”

A: 1. Voting “No” on a Tentative Agreement means we no longer have a Tentative Agreement.  The package or parts of it could be withdrawn from the table by either side. Either side could withdraw proposals, make additional proposals, or issue a termination notice, and the Union could strike after such notice.

2. We would have to entertain any motion made and seconded by members either to:

            (a) Notify Company of Rejection Vote and issue termination notice of extended contract, request more negotiations but strike if an agreement is not reached.

            (b) Notify Company of Rejection Vote and issue termination notice of extended contract and stay working with no contract in place (very dangerous)

OR

(c) Notify the company of the Rejection Vote but do not issue termination notice for extended Contract and request additional bargaining on specific points.

201’s Recent Contract Vote History

1997 – REJECT

2000 – ACCEPT

2003 – REJECT

2007 – ACCEPT

2011 – REJECT

2015 – ACCEPT

2019 – ?????????

 

In Solidarity, 

Adam Kaszynski                                            Bill Maher

President, Delegate                             Business Agent, Delegate

 

Report from National Negotiations - Update 1

June 18th, 2019

by Adam Kaszynski

Freddy Russel and I arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio today 6/18/19 just before Noon and headed to CBC Headquarters at the Westin Hotel downtown.  We got caught up by Business Agent Bill Maher on his work as a member of the Pension & Retirement Subcommittee, and the overall situation at Negotiations.  We briefly spoke to main table union representatives, including Chair of Healthcare Subcommittee Andy Blades (IUE-CWA 701, Madisonville, KY) and Chair of the Retirement and Pension Subcommittee Jake Aguinaga (IUE-CWA 1004, Strother Field, KS) as they waited for the company to call to regroup.  Freddy and I talked to recently arrived delegates about what is going on at their locals, and (due to travel timing) we just missed the bus to a retiree march at the Evendale plant.  We were there in spirit. I have a feeling there will be more opportunities to build public support while we’re here. Pictures of the march will likely be on www.GEworkersunited.org, or the Facebook page of the same name.  It sounded like a strong showing of unity against corporate greed.

The mood here at CBC HQ is tense.  Imagine being away from your Local, family, and home for 2 weeks fighting for a fair contract, just to watch GE not move on anything (the negotiating equivalent of twiddling your thumbs).  For a company so concerned with delinquency it seems like a bad time to play the waiting game. As we have seen in Lynn, management generally comes and goes, but union members at our plants stay for whole careers, and often for generations - and build the value of this Company.  We have everything to fight for.  GE can’t stall the inevitable, a fair contract OR a NO Vote.

We are beginning the 3rd week of negotiations, which is traditionally a time of more “movement” towards an agreement.  CBC and GE are still worlds apart, so GE better get moving. Many key issues that Lynn has warned would merit a NO vote are still in deadlock.

We must be ready to fight for the 2 current pension supplements, that are designed to make up 80% of social security until retired members are eligible for social security.  This benefit is essential to a dignified retirement.

We must fight for an affordable and dignified retirement program for members with no Pension.  401k’s are a gamble at best, and GE workers deserve more.

We must fight to renew the "no pension freeze" side letter, so the pension GE workers earned and paid into cannot be used as a pawn in future negotiations and members maintain the benefits they were promised and are owed.

We must fight to maintain our OT provisions.  OT rules help maintain job security and are designed to encourage hiring.

We need to continue the fight against the MBW 10 year progression, it is unfair, uncompetitive, and a MAJOR issue for Local 201.

GE expects north of 35 Billion dollars in sales resulting from the Paris Airshow this week(1). Only a fair contract can ensure speedy delivery.

As Bill Maher told the company last night “The company has total disregard for employees, active and retired. We are the answer to your problems, stop treating us like the problem”

 

(1) https://www.cnbc.com/video/2019/06/17/expecting-35-billion-in-new-orders-from-paris-air-show-ge-aviation.html

Freddy and Kaz meet with the other CBC Delegates