Contract 2011---VOTE NO

 

3 HUGE TAKEAWAYS: VOTE NO!

 

Before this year’s contract negotiations, GE vowed to “re-set” the wage and benefit package for current and future GE workers. The unions promised to fight these attacks. Without any financial justification, given their profits, GE vowed to join the corporate party (they call it “trends”) by reducing the standard of living of GE workers.

 

The tentative agreement eliminates key benefits for current and/or future workers in essential areas across the board. Our negotiating committee can certainly argue that we raised the price of the strategic defeat, especially with benefits like the one-time SERO window, pension improvements and VRIPS for a few hundred workers nation-wide. One can only imagine what our wages and benefits would look like without a union.***

 

But the hated management health care plan is in place, although with cost softeners. Our best analysis says our costs will, on the average, DOUBLE. Future negotiations would be based on the management plan template, with its multiple options pitting the young and healthy versus the older or the ill or the unlucky. Our plan of shared risk is gone.

 

SERO (Special Early Retirement Option) as we knew it is gone. A SERO without pension supplements or company paid health care is worthless. Without the option of a senior member taking early retirement to save the job of a less senior member, job security for younger members is gone. And the financial deterrent to GE for lay-offs from farmout and outsourcing is gone.

 

The defined benefit pension plan is gone for new hires. They’ll be entirely dependent on an “enhanced” 401(k) for their retirement. Remember, a trillion dollars of stock value was lost in a few days due to financial swindles in the current crisis. (Of course, GE found $4.4 billion in recent years to pad the special pension for the top earning 3200 GE management employees. No “re-set” for the beautiful people!) Older workers among us will keep pensions for a few more years, but its gone today for new hires and will be gone tomorrow for everyone. Will GE workers whose pensions have been given away fight for the pensions of the people who gave them away? Also gone for new hires is post-65 health insurance, pension supplements, disability pension, Personal Pension Accounts and Voluntary Pension Accounts. They’ll pay 50% of pre-65 insurance costs.

 

The $5000 bonus is good eye candy—but hurts you every year after the year you get it since it does not go into your base pay and get repeated each year in the future, like a percentage raise does. After one year, your bonus is gone.

 

While there are a number of positive features in the tentative agreement that sweeten the deal (regarding time-off, etc.) there is simply no arguing with the above facts. Our health care plan, future pensions, and job security (SERO): GONE.

 

WE HAVE TO MEAN WHAT WE SAY!

The takeaways in the tentative agreement are not simply part of a give and take—they fundamentally roll back bedrock elements of our contract. They must be rejected.

 

Some of course will say, like the management who are working the shop floor, just “go with the flow”. Don’t stand out. That is not our way. We have said from the beginning that we would fight the kind of takeaways that are in this agreement. We could not have been more clear.

 

We engage in serious, honest negotiations. We do not bluster or posture. There will be other negotiations in the future. If we are to maintain our credibility in the future with our members, other union members, and the company, WE HAVE TO SAY WHAT WE MEAN AND MEAN WHAT WE SAY. We urge you to back our Business Agent and local Executive Board, and VOTE NO!

 

IUE-CWA Local 201 Executive Policy Board (unanimous!)

Jeff Crosby, President; Ric Casilli, Business Agent; Alex Brown, Vice-President; Mike Reidy, Treasurer; Jeff Francis, Gary Poland, Skip Brown, Bill Rounseville, Fred Russell, Ex. Bd.; Ted Comick, H&S Director, Jerry Ayer, Tom O’Shea, Pat Ryan, Trustees; Bill Ryan, Sergeant at Arms

 

Membership Informational Meeting: Tues., June 28 12:30 and 3:30 PM Franco-American, 535 Western Ave., Lynn; Membership Vote in Plant: Wednesday, June 29.

 

***IMPORTANT NOTICE: An action by SEIU 615, the union organizing the GE cleaners, will be held on Monday, June 27, at 11:30 AM. Please join them if you can. Any picketing by SEIU 615 is informational and not meant to keep anyone at the Riverworks from coming to work.