IUE-CWA Local 201  “Under the provision of the 2011-2015 IUE-CWA GE Wage agreement, a COLA (Cost Of Living Adjustment) will be delivered on June 23, 2014, for all eligible GE members. The General Increase will be 3.0%. The COLA increase will be 22 cents per hour. This will be the sixth of eight COLA’s delivered during this contract cycle.”  

News

GE Work Situation Update

GE WORK SITUATION UPDATE

Friday, September 19, 2014

 

This is an update of where things currently stand. LMO reductions were reduced from 98 to 91. Plant IV openings increased to 92 jobs. All LMO reductions have now been placed in their new jobs and most have already moved. There is also approximately 8 potential openings in the Flight Support Center, which are not being filled at this time.

 

As of Friday, September 19, it appears at least 82 Plant IV pieceworkers were going to retire October 1, 2014 under one of the two negotiated retirement programs. And it appears approximately 11 Plant IV 59 years old pieceworkers were fairly definite that they would be taking the Layoff Benefit Package. So it appears a total of about 93 members will exit the plant on October 1, 2014. This number could change a bit during the next 7 days – either going a bit lower of higher. The hope is the number will go up a bit more creating more job openings.

 

The Plant IV joint sub-committee has been discussing the Plant IV farmed-out work under Tables 1 and 2 of the Memorandum of Understanding. Union Board members on the sub-committee report that the meetings have been going good and they are very hopeful that more work will be coming into Plant IV over the next few months and new job openings will result. These meetings will be held almost every week

 

The Union has also been in some discussions with the Company concerning the forecasted 45 reductions for Assembly & Test in January 2015. The Union has been suggesting keeping the CF34-8C work in house and/or bringing in other work to fill until the T700 and CT7 orders pick up again in about a year. These talks will be on going.

 

The Company reiterated their commitment to the Business Agent today to continue to explore with the Union any possible ideas or ways to achieve the goal of not having to resort to any hard layoffs “to the street” in January 2015. This process will go on through the last quarter of 2014.

Correction to the BA news paper article

CORRECTION: This article ran in the September 9, 2014 Union News. The Business Agent would like to correct some of the figures used in the example in the 5th paragraph. The percentages used in our newspaper in that paragraph were the social security percentages for members born between 1943 and 1954. However, the example used in the article was a member born in 1955 and those figures are a bit different. They are corrected below.  The few changes are highlighted in in bold print.

 

 

Business Agent’s Column

By Ric Casilli

 

CONTRACT 2015- NEED IMPROVED PENSION SUPPLEMENTS

 

In my last 2 columns, I outlined what I thought would be two necessary ingredients to improve the GE Pension Plan in the 2015 contract. These were improvement in the Pension Update and the Guaranteed Pension Tables. These two items would help one’s base pension for the rest of one’s life. (Note: There also are other areas of the Pension Plan that could be improved to help a member’s base pension for life – like improving the future service career annuity formula and lowering survivorship option deductions for example.)

 

However, there is a third piece of the pension package that is critical to improve despite the fact that is does not add anything to a member’s life base pension. That is the 2 Pension Supplements that are temporary in nature but “bridge” that tough period between GE Optional Retirement (age 60) and the date you are eligible to collect 80% of your Social Security benefit (63-64 years old for vast majority of  members that will be retiring under the next contract).

 

The negotiated optional retirement age, to collect an unreduced pension, is age 60 under the GE Pension plan. Thus, many members retire at age 60 or sometimes before they are eligible for any Social Security (SS) monies at age 62 to supplement their pension.  The problem got heightened with changes made under the Social Security law amendments (back under Reagan in 1983) which gradually increased the age one had to reach to receive 80% and 100% Social Security.

 

For example, members born between 1943 and 1954, now have to wait to age 63 (rather then 62) to get 80% SS benefits and age 66 (rather then 65) to get their 100% SS benefits. The age requirement for such benefits gradually gets higher (worse) for people born after 1954. But the pension supplements continue past 63 for members born 1955 and later to the month you become eligible for 80% Social Security.

 

Let’s use an example. A member’s birth date is June 29, 1955. That member wishes to retire on July 1, 2015 right after his 60th birthday. He/She begins receiving their GE union negotiated unreduced Pension right away at age 60. However, he/she is not eligible to collect any Social Security benefits until age 62 and should he/she decide to begin collecting Social Security then at age 62, he/she would be eligible ONLY for a 74.1% SS benefit going forward for life. If he/she waits to age 63 the SS benefits would be 79.1% going forward for life. (Note: @ age 64-it would be 85.5%, @ age 65- 92.2%, and @ age 66- 98.8%). This is where the GE Pension supplements come in. They provide a “financial bridge” for this member for the 3+ year gap to age 63 (and a couple of months) when the member becomes eligible for 80% Social Security. (Note: The age one ultimately decides to collect their Social Security has no impact at all on the period this member can collect his pension supplements. This member would receive the GE pension supplements for 3+ years from age 60 until he/she turns 63 and a couple of months (Age of his /her eligibility,based on his/her year of birth, to collect 80% Social security).

 

 

The Union recognized this “gap” problem years ago and thus negotiated Pension Supplements to help “bridge” people’s earning until they could collect at least their 80% social security. The Pension supplements negotiated originally ended at age 62, which at that time was the eligibility age for 80% Social Security. When the negative Social Security changes began impacting members, the Union also negotiated improvements that the supplements would continue until one reaches whatever their eligibility age was to receive their 80% Social Security benefit (currently age 63 for most members but that age goes up gradually for those members born 1955 or later) Thus, the union maintained the original design feature of the Supplements, to “bridge” all members to at least the 80% Social Security eligibility age.

 

With the ending of the GE pension supplements at age 63 or a bit higher, most members financially need then to begin collecting their 80% Social Security Benefit. The Union has, over the years, negotiated improvements of the amounts of both supplements and that will be necessary to do again.

 

CURRENT PENSION SUPPLEMENTS

 

  1. REGULAR SUPPLEMENT- $20.00 per month, per year of Pension Benefit Service until  the age of eligibility for 80% social security benefits (Examples: 30 years PBS=$600 monthly benefit ; 35 years PBS = $700 monthly benefit)

 

  1. SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT- $400 per month until the age of eligibility for 80% social security benefits

 

Obviously, we would like to see decent improvements in the amounts of both supplements again. However, a novel improvement would extend the time period that one gets the two supplements from the “the age of eligibility for 80% social security benefits to “the age of eligibility for 100% social security benefits”.  This would allow the member, if he/she so wishes, to possibly afford to defer collecting their Social Security until age 66 (or higher) and thus get his/her full 100% Social Security for life.

 

SUMMARY-

 

  • Many Local 201 members will be eligible to retire at age 60 or above under the 2015 Contract.
  • Thus, Improvements in the Pension Update, Guaranteed Pension Table, and Pension Supplements are more important than ever and are 3 key ingredients needed in Pension Plan improvements.

 

 

NOTE: I will be highlighting more Key Contract 2015 areas  in upcoming articles such as the Pre-65 Retiree  Medical Plan & Contribution rate issues, the potential elimination of post 65 and life insurance for many current members and recent retirees, the Younger Local 201 Members’ needs, and the protection of New Hires benefits

LATO announcement not unexpected!

GE LACK OF WORK QUICK UPDATE

Thursday, September 4, 2014

 

The Company yesterday notified Local 201 that they finally had the volume drop figures and their anticipated impact on Lynn Assembly & Test Areas of the plant (LATO). The Union had been previously told the site was 150-200 heads too heavy plant wide, as has been reported numerous times to our members. The Union was well aware we were waiting for reduction numbers in other areas of the plant other than LMO. The LMO announced reductions by the Company was 98 “heads” which now has been reduced to 92 “heads”. Plant IV openings now are up to 92 so far.  More openings are anticipated as the retirements occur and as the farm-in committee gets rolling. There are also a handful of openings in the Bldg. 63 Flight Support Center.

 

The Company announcement yesterday that we will be 46 “heads” too heavy in the first quarter of next year in Assembly & Test comes as no surprise.   We were anticipating such an announcement – but did not know what the exact figure would be. The Company previously told us there would be no reductions in Assembly & Test this year (2014). They continued to state such yesterday with this announcement.

 

They now have forecasted approximately 46 reductions will be needed sometime in the first quarter of 2015. The Union has raised some questions regarding the Company’s plans for Assembly & Test engine line work they intend to farm back in and some questions on what engine line work they intend to farm back out. The Union intends to have a series of discussion with the Company on this but the Company is stating the “switch” they are planning is a net gain of 10 jobs for Lynn or the reductions would have been higher.

 

The Union right now is focused on the getting Plant IV openings filled, the retirements processed out and getting the farmed out work rolling back into Plant IV per our Piecework Agreement. The Assembly and Test work will be discussed fully in the coming weeks.

 

The goal of the Company and Union in regards to stopping or minimizing hard layoffs “to the street” has NOT changed one bit by yesterdays expected stated impact on LATO. Such impact is NOT occurring for almost 4 months and it was something both parties knew was part of the total impact being forecasted.

Plant Gate Show Of Support

CONGRESSMAN JOHN TIERNEY WILL AT GE FAIRCHILD GATE (1000 Western Ave.)

FRIDAY, Sept 5, 2:45PM-3:15PM

 

On this Friday, September 5, IUE-CWA Local 201 endorsed candidate Congressman John Tierney (running for reelection) will be at the GE Fairchild Street Gate between 2:45PM and 3:15PM with Local 201 in a show of mutual support. John has long time been a supporter of trying to bring work to Lynn and has supported the Union’s campaigns against acts like NAFTA and currently TPP which serve to ship jobs out of this country. He has been a staunch supporter of veterans and working people’s issues.

 

Any Local 201 member (or others) are welcome to join us for this brief period in show our support for his candidacy and as a thank-you for his help over many years.