Business Agent’s Colum

By Ric Casilli

Business Agent




I am speaking now as Business Agent of Local 201 and not as a member of our IUE- CWA GE National Negotiating Team.


Local 201 has always fought to keep our River Works plant, productive, safe while producing high quality products. We have a list of 39 items (big and small) that we have worked with the Company locally on over the last 25 years to make our Plant competitive. We shall continue to do so and we separate our good local working relationship with the Company from issue disputes that occur in National Contractbargaining. With almost $16 Billion in profits, there is no necessity to disregard our members financial, health and retirement needs.


I have previously written 8 articles on GE Contract 2015 that up on our web site – many of which go into specific issues in detail. This article is a SUMMARY of key needs I think need to be addressed These are my personal opinions, based on our membership surveys and opinions, of some key issue “areas” for GE Contract 2015. I try to simplify the details of the subject and also the population each key subject “area” impacts. These are by no means all-inclusive “areas” that Union proposals will try to address in specific detail at the bargaining table, but they are some of the main ones in my mind.




1.  (A)   Improved Medical Plan and reduce member’s “cost sharing” (Impacts all Current 

            Members and Pre-65 Retirees)


(B) Improved Post - 65 Medical Plans NOT Elimination (Impacts all current Members hired before Jan/ 1, 2008, all Pre-65 Retirees, and all Post-65 Retirees)


PENSIONS/ S &S 401K (RSP Plan)


1. (A)    Improved Pension Update (Impacts most current members hired before Jan. 1, 

       2012 and most of the 92 members that exited under Piecework agreement)


(B) Improved Pension Guaranteed Tables (Impacts members with relatively lower 

Annual earnings hired before Jan. 1, 2012)


(C) Improved Pension Supplements (Impacts most current members under age

63 hired before Jan.1 2012) and apply these supplements to those hired Jan. 1

2012 or after (Impacts current members hired after Jan. 1, 2012)


(D) Improved the “Enhanced” S & S 401K (now called RSP) (Impacts current

members hireJan. 1. 2012 or after) and apply to members hired before Jan. 1

2012. (Impacts current members hired before Jan. 1, 2012)


(E) Base Pension Increase and COLA (Impacts most current Retirees)




1. (A)    Outsourcing, Farm-Out and Plant Closing Restrictions (Impacts all current

              Members especially younger members)


   (B)     Restore Full Benefit SERO Substitute Feature tied to Reductions- In- Forces

              (Impacts all current members, especially protecting younger members and

              helps current members age 55 through age 59)


   (C)       Improve significantly Special Retirement & Voluntary Layoff Bonuses tied

  to Reduction- In- Forces (Impacts all current members, especially protecting                                   

  younger current members and helps current members age 60 and over)





In my mind the size of the wage and COLA improvements are directly related to whathappens in negotiations over medical plan costs. Current members and pre-65 retirees got hit with major medical plan cost increases due to the introduction 4 years ago of this new GE Health Benefit Plan for Production EmployeesThe only way to offset the last 4 years increased costs for health care coverage for current members is throughadditional wage increases and/or rolling back some of the current costs and freezing or limiting future medical cost increases.


A couple of special situations (related to wages) need addressing also. The $1.00 Night Shift Differential (NSD for a new hire a 5 years period (to get the 10% NSD) needs addressing. It was $.60 when it came into place in the 1994 Contract and only has been increased once since then and it has lost even its original low value vs. the 10% that was taken away. In addition, pre-65 retirees do not get wage increases to help balance medicalcost increases but most are charged medical premiums based on their last pay as a regular employee. That is not right. It needs to should be charged on their Pension pay as it used to be for all pre-65 retirees.




This is just a summary of some key issues I feel members need to thinking about in regards to evaluating any Contract ‘offer”. There are many specific other items I did not cover that must be looked at too – such as paid time off, short term disability pay, early retirement “windows” with replacement features, emergency aid , and  possible contract language issues.