IUE-CWA Local 201 


Large turnout at membership meeting

At a well attended IUE-CWA Local 201 Membership Meeting held on Tuesday April 15, 2014, the Membership took the following actions:
• Rejected by a 70% to 30% margin the Petition (sponsored by Board Member Fred Russell) to restructure Union Officers and Board Members Elections beginning with the Union Elections in October of 2014
• Approved by a 89% to 11% margin reducing delegates to Convention, Conference Board and District from 4 delegates to 3.
• Approved by 75% to 25% margin adding a provision that if a GE Board Members jurisdiction drops below 250 members that less lost time shall be allotted for that individual under a Chief Steward role
• Accepted unanimously the report by the Business Agent on the ongoing Piecework Negotiations
Local 201 Retirees President Kevin Mahar was given a lifetime labor award from Local 201 for his years and dedication to helping retirees’ pension and benefits.

Company rejects union proposal.

On March 14, 2014 GE rejected Local 201’s March 7, 2014 proposal to modify the current piecework system by rolling back the piecework price formula by 10% to 2008 levels with an agreement to increase “flexibility” and “teaming” in Plant IV. That union proposal (now rejected by GE) was printed in the March 18, 2014 edition of the 201 NEWS.
The Company main response was that they want “to bargain over the removal of the piecework system, not the modification of piecework”. They continue to argue that the system is productive but not productive enough to offset the cost of the system and that they believe the system does not foster “flexibility” or “teaming” as it a system based on “individualistic behavior” The company also asserted it that the Union proposal would only reduce shop rate by $4.55 – not nearly enough to make Plant IV competitive. And finally the Company contended that the Union proposal did not address the issues important to the Company of having to have “significant resources” to mange the system, of their desire to become “one Lynn manufacturing operation” or moving to the use of “1 man multiples”


Next Bargaining Session Feb. 27



Local 201’s expanded bargaining committee met on February 6 for hours reviewing the Company’s proposal given the Union on January 27 that calls for conversion of the Plant IV piecework system to a daywork system on July 1, 2014.


The union committee decided to contact the company over a number of information requests Local 201 had made at the January 27 meeting and especially information concerning the productivity of the piecework system vs. a daywork system. The union discussed various “ideas” how to make the piecework system more cost effective but came to no final conclusions and decided to ask the company their level of interest in any proposals attempting to adjust the system versus ending it, and their reasoning behind their desires.


The company responded in writing that they have reviewed themselves various options to “fix” the system over the last year and for one reason or another have ruled them all out. They cite that piecework was mainly designed for manual operations and not NC machining and that “70%” of Plant IV is now NC machining. The company says it is not conducive anymore to be a cost-effective system and any efforts to make it such run in to obstacles with pricing disputes (one man multiples). They also declared that Plant IV is only “slightly “ more productive than LMO and that margin falls short of the cost they pay for that productivity. The company plans on showing the union slides to demonstrate that point. On top of all this, they state they do not have the necessary resources to mange the system anymore.


The Company is also stating that without a major change, on shop costs and rates, Lynn Plant IV (they cite as the most expensive in the whole Aviation Supply chain) will not be in a position to compete for new work. They are saying that with the anticipated cost impact on a conversion to daywork, they will be able to look at competing to bring work back into Lynn and can seek consideration on future new work by continuing to demonstrate progress on costs and flexibility across one pay system. They state the removal of the piecework system best positions the Lynn site and Lynn Plant IV for the future.


The union bargaining committee met again on Wednesday, February 19 to discuss the above company response and an afternoon bargaining session with the company has been set for Thursday, February 27. Local 201 Business Agent Ric Casilli stated “We hope to have former Everett/ Plant IV Board Member Fred Merchant Jr. join our Committee for this bargaining session with the Company.”


Piecework Negotiations are the featured item of the February 25 monthly membership meetings.

Piecework a historic part of Local 201

Business Agent’s Column

By Ric Casilli


The piecework system has been an historic part of sections of the Local 201 GE Bargaining Units for 60-70 years. Piecework existed in many sections of our GE plants at one time, with Plant IV being the only current survivor.


There is a reason that GE wanted a piecework pay system and a reason it has survived so many years – it was way more productive than a daywork pay system. GE realized this and profited big time off this pay system for years and years with proper management of the system. Many Local 201 members, due to the monetary incentives of such a system, realized better wages and better pensions due to this system. It was a win-win. The Company got great productivity and profits, and many members (usually with high service) were able to get rewarded with these jobs in the later parts of their GE careers and boost their inadequate career GE pensions. The GE pension system is wage and career earnings based and the higher piecework wages combined with regular contractual Pension Updates ensured that many members were able to retire with a livable pension.

In essence, it was a mutually beneficial pay system.


That system is in danger now. GE says it no longer works and not cost effective, and says it is hindering us from being able to be “in the game” as a cost-competitive Aviation site for new work. How did this piecework system go from being considered at one time a high productivity high profit system for the Company to something they consider the biggest obstacle for getting new work into the Lynn site?  I have heard hundreds of “opinions” from company representative, Plant IV Stewards, piecework members and daywork members as to whether in the system is in fact still good for the Company or is no good. I also have heard hundreds of “opinions” as to what has hurt the system and who is to blame. I have my “opinions” on both these matters but “opinions” really do not matter in this situation right now


What matters is that the company has an obligation to clearly back up their  assertions and contention with facts and statistics (not opinions) that a piecework system in Plant IV can no longer be profitable, productive and cost effective. They also need to demonstrate in detail just how the end of that system will automatically translate into more new work, investment, and hiring and be a “win” for the entire River Works plant. They owe all 1600 GE members (and their employees) this - because any end of the piecework system shall certainly have a major negative impact immediately on 185 of our members’ wages and future pension earnings – and also the future opportunity for current dayworkers to transition to piecework later in their GE careers.


In essence, they have an obligation to clearly articulate why they want to dismantle a Everett/Plant IV system that for over 60 years was considered a “Win for the Company” and a “Win for the Union Members”.