Contract 2003

 

201 MEMBERSHIP ACCEPTS
2003-2007 CONTRACT

WHAT’S NEXT?

The Local 201 membership voted 1,043 to 995 to approve the tentative agreement between the IUE-CWA and General Electric for a new 2003-2007 contract. The 48 vote difference (51% for and 49% against) made this the closest contract vote in memory.

Nationally, the tentative agreement was approved 74% to 26% in the 48 local unions under the IUE/CWA-GE contract. This was a smaller approval percentage than for the 2000 contract, which was approved 83% to 17%. There was a 41% rejection vote in Louisville. Contrary to the false rumors spread by a certain Evendale manager that "Madisonville is voting against the contract because of the domestic partnership language," in factMadisonville, Ky. approved the proposal by a 3-1 margin. The Machinists Union in Evendale voted to accept 88% to 12%.

People voted for or against the proposal for a variety of reasons. The task now is to accept the secret-ballot vote expressing the will of our membership and move on.

Certain structural bargaining issues need fixing at the national level. Local 201 has argued (and President Fire has now agreed) that a "tentative agreement" should not be announced until the Conference Board votes on the proposal. And the Coordination between the various GE unions got worse, not better, this time—especially with the Machinists union pulling out of the Coordinated Bargaining Committee.

In August there is a national union convention in Chicago. It looks like the Local 201 position to maintain the position of Chairman of the IUE/CWA Conference Board chairman as an elected—not appointed—position, which was narrowly defeated last year, is positioned to win this time.

Locally, we will move to minimize or eliminate any lay-offs to the street due to the coming transfer of work to Romania in August. And before long we will be monitoring the "SERO Replacement Window" opportunities in October and November to make sure our members get their fair share, and that every job is replaced.

Long term, we will be moving aggressively to defeat GE’s stated plan of reducing the IUE union membership to 9000 by the year 2007 by organizing. We will meet with union supporters ("WAGE Committees") in the non-union plants in Auburn, Me., and Somersworth. N.H. to go over the new contract and make plans to build organization in those and other shops. Members who want to help should call the Hall.

On the political front, we will be working to get the "Tierney Amendment" to the House Defense Authorization Bill passed on the Senate side as well. The bill will require Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to report to Congress on what defense jobs are shipped out of the country and what can be done to bring them back. The large defense contractors are already mobilizing to defeat this bill!

Finally, we want to take a moment to thank all the stewards, committee members, Building Captains, canvassers and rank and file members who worked so hard on the contract campaign. Our Contract Rally received praise from all over the country. The"13th monthly check" we helped win will be greatly appreciated by our retirees. The January Health Care strike greatly reduced the health care cost increases and the contract campaign increased the number of SERO Replacement Window opportunities. The company didn’t even try to eliminate the pension update this time. We made a difference.

Local 201 can again be proud of its work to win a fair 2003 contract for our members, despite some of the disappointing features of the final settlement. And you can be sure thatwe will not miss a beat in meeting the challenges ahead.


UNIONS SLAM GE’S PROPOSAL FOR HCP COST INCREASES!

On Tuesday, July 9th, in a "Decision Bargaining" session in Pittsburg, PA, IUE-CWA and UE National leaders slammed GE’s recently proposed huge employee cost increases to the HCP (Health Care Preferred) plans.

On June 14th, GE announced major HCP plan cost increases, using a "contract re-opener" provision concerning HCP plans, that was slipped into the 1997 contract,(a contract rejected by Local 201).

GE announced 5 HCP plan increases they intend to implement January 1, 2003 (approximately 6 months before the end of our current National Contract!)

GE’s proposals were to (1) implement an inpatient admission employee co-pay of $250.00 when admitted to a hospital or treatment facility (currently 0 co-pay).

  1. Increase the co-pay for "specialist" visits from $15.00 to $25.00

  2. Increase emergency room visits (when not admitted) from $30.00 to $50.00

  3. Increase pharmacy retail prescriptions from $12.00 to $18.00

  4. Increase mail order prescriptions from $20.00 to $40.00

The IUE-CWA and UE Conference Boards immediately (per contract) demanded "decision bargaining". The July 9 Pittsburgh session was the first such bargaining session. The IUE-CWA Conference Board, led Chairman Art Smith, brought its GE National Negotiating members from the Pensions and Insurance sub-committee, which included Lynn Local 201 BA Ric Casilli, Louisville Local 761 President Randy Peyton, Schenectady Local 301 BACarmen DiPaulo, Cleveland Local 707 President Jim Ledford, and Conference Board Staff member Vinny Vines. The UE brought its 2 national leaders and reps from the UAW and Flint Glass workers Union were also present.

Conference Board Chairman Smith set the tone in his first statement.

"The Union counter-proposes (1) keeping the hospital and treatment admissions at $0. (2) lowering specialist visits from $15 to $12. (3)lowering emergency room visits from $30 to $20. (4) lowering retail pharmacy prescriptions from $12 to $6 and (5) lowering mail order prescriptions from $20 to $10 for a 90 day supply."

"You may think our proposals are ridiculous but now maybe you see what we think of yours. Our members are outraged!" shouted Smith.

Dialogue and debate ensued for approximately 3 hours between top company negotiators led by Dennis Rocheleau and top leaders of the CBC unions present, led by Smith and UE Conference Board Chair Steve Tormey. GE made it clear that they were eventually aiming for a 70%/30%(employee costs) split in their overall health care costs and that current employee cost-sharing was only in the 18% to 20% range. Using 2001 figures, they said they were approximately $90 million short of that goal and these proposed "contract opener" increases were only an attempt to recover a portion of the gap. They made it clear they intended to be back for more "cost-sharing" at negotiations 6 months after these increases would go into effect (January 1, 2003).

IUE-CWA leaders attacked the Company for ignoring previous wage increases given up and COLA diversions agreed to in past contracts to keep employee medical cost-sharing lower and hammered them over the Company’s high profits and ability to pay. UE leaders attacked the Company for proposing increases that hurt the most, the people who can least afford to pay—individuals on STD and LTDI disability pay and a lot of medical problems, as well as pre-65 retirees on fixed incomes.

Louisville expressed extra outrage considering their plant did not receive % wage increases the last 3 years (but only lump sums) and now were having these increases jammed down their throats.

Schenectady reported their members were extremely hostile over this and this would be on top of likely layoffs coming in the fall making the situation worse. "It’s a slap in the face to us." Lynn said "its union board and members would not stand for this and this can only be seen for what it is, a politically hostile pre-contract shot and not just an economic move and the Company would be wise to wait until Contract 2003 to make such awful proposals."

The Company said they could understand why the Unions were upset and angry over the proposals and particularly over the "contract re-opener" aspect of these negotiations.

Following a recess and a further review with Corporate, the Company made 2 pitiful modifications to their rotten proposal:

  1. They agreed to lower their proposed $250.00 admission co-pay to $200.00 (currently $0) and cap that co-pay at 3 times per family and

  2. lowered their $40 mail order pharmacy co-pay to $38 (wow!)

All 3 other Company proposals remained the same.

The Company agreed to explore further a Union suggestion that if they were going to propose any increases, they should propose changes that would befrozen not for 6 months but for 3 ½ years (through the next contract). The Union leaders cautioned the Company that even that type of proposal probably would not be palatable depending on the nature, extent and size of the increases.

IUE-CWA Chairman Smith stated "if corporate thinks we’re gonna just take these things lying down…they’re sadly mistaken. We’re not gonna sit here and do nothing and then get steam-rolled over in Contract 2003. You may save $36 million by implementing your last best offer but the CoE leaders around the country stand to lose a lot more in productivity and output than what you are going to save. (Note: The Company has a right to implement their last best proposal and the Union has the right to strike nationally upon implementation under the national contract.)

The meeting recessed with the Company stating they would review the "dialogue" from this session and re-schedule another session in a few weeks waiving the contractual 30 day decision bargaining deadline (which would be July 14) in the interest of continuing to talk.

 

2003 Contract Information & Analysis

(click on topic to view)

Pension Payment Per Month X Years of PBS
 
Weekly Medical Contribution Changes
 
Medical Premiums for Selected Job Rates
 
VOTE NO! IT DOESN’T ADD UP!
 
The GE 2003 Contract Offer: A First Look
 

Pension Payment Per Month X Years of PBS

EARNINGS 2000 UPDATE
PER MONTH X PBS
 2003 UPDATE
PER MONTH X PBS
 DIFFERENCE
       
$45,000 $40.50 $40.50* EVEN
       
$50,000 $46.33 $45.50* - 0.83
       
$55,000 $52.16 $50.50* - 1.66
       
$60,000 $58.00 $55.50* - 2.50
       
$65,000 $63.83 $61.04 - 2.79**
$83.70 less monthly increase
(see example below)
       
$70,000 $69.66 $67.08 - 2.58
       
$75,000 $75.50 $73.13 - 2.37
       
$80,000 $81.33 $79.17 - 2.16
       
$85,000 $87.16 $85.21 - 1.95
 
Weekly Medical Contribution Changes
 
GE Comprehensive
Medical Benefits
GE Health Care
Preferred
 
             

Annual Pay*

 

(Currently)

 

1/1/2004

 

1/1/2006

 

(Currently)

 

1/1/2004

 

1/1/2006

             

One Person Coverage

            

$37,500-$49,999

 

($3.92)

 

$6.12

 

$7.46

 

($2.96)

 

$4.49

 

$5.35

$50,000-$74,999

 

($4.92)

 

$7.76

 

$9.49

 

($3.96)

 

$6.13

 

$7.38

$75,000-$99,999

 

($5.92)

 

$9.56

 

$11.86

 

($4.96)

 

$7.93

 

$9.75

             

Two Person Coverage

            

$37,500-$49,999

 

($12.55)

 

$16.96

 

$19.64

 

($8.71)

 

$11.78

 

$13.51

$50,000-$74,999

 

($13.55)

 

$19.22

 

$22.67

 

($9.71)

 

$14.04

 

$16.53

$75,000-$99,999

 

($14.55)

 

$21.83

 

$26.43

 

($10.71)

 

$16.65

 

$20.29

             

Coverage for Three or More

            

$37,500-$49,999

 

($12.55)

 

$21.37

 

$26.74

 

($8.71)

 

$14.84

 

$18.29

$50,000-$74,999

 

($13.55)

 

$24.90

 

$31.80

 

($9.71)

 

$18.37

 

$23.35

$75,000-$99,999

 

($14.55)

 

$29.12

 

$38.32

 

($10.71)

 

$22.59

 

$29.87

             
*Based on 40 hours (not including NSB or OT)
 
Medical Premiums for Selected Job Rates

(Includes raises and COLA based on 2% inflation over the life of the contract. Thus, these medical contributions incorporate wage bracket jumps over the 4 years.)

       
  

HCP

 

HCP

 

HCP

  

1 person

 

2 people

 

3 or more

R-23 now

 

$3.96

 

$9.71

 

$9.71

1/1/2004

 

$6.13

 

$14.04

 

$18.37

1/1/2006

 

$7.38

 

$16.53

 

$23.35

       

R-19 now

 

$2.96

 

$8.71

 

$8.71

1/1/2004

 

$4.49

 

$11.78

 

$14.84

1/1/2006

 

$7.38

 

$16.53

 

$23.35

       

R-17 now

 

$2.96

 

$8.71

 

$8.71

1/1/2004

 

$4.49

 

$11.78

 

$14.84

1/1/2006

 

$5.35

 

$13.51

 

$18.29

       
       
  

CMB

 

CMB

 

CMB

  

1 person

 

2 people

 

3 or more

R-23 now

 

$4.92

 

$13.55

 

$13.55

1/1/2004

 

$7.76

 

$19.22

 

$24.90

1/1/2006

 

$9.49

 

$22.67

 

$31.80

       

R-19 now

 

$3.92

 

$12.55

 

$12.55

1/1/2004

 

$6.12

 

$16.96

 

$21.37

1/1/2006

 

$9.49

 

$22.67

 

$31.80

       

R-17 now

 

$3.92

 

$12.55

 

$12.55

1/1/2004

 

$6.12

 

$16.96

 

$21.37

1/1/2006

 

$7.46

 

$19.64

 

$26.74

       

VOTE NO! IT DOESN’T ADD UP!

Local 201 Executive Policy Board and 201 Conference Board Delegates Unanimously Reject 2003-2007 Tentative Agreement!

IUE/CWA GE Conference Board Recommends 2003-2007
Tentative Agreement by 7,649 to 4,994 vote
Lynn and Louisville Opposed

All four Local 201 delegates to the IUE/CWA GE Conference Board voted to reject the tentative agreement for the 2003-2007 contract. Louisville delegates unanimously voted against the agreement also, while all other local leaders voted to recommend the membership accept the agreement.

The Local 201 Executive Policy Board voted unanimously to recommend rejection to the Local 201 membership on Wednesday evening,

Basically, the Local 201 view is that the proposal just does not add up. A lower wage package than last time, increased medical costs, and a pension "update" formula that isnot as good as the one we were able to negotiate in 2000.

There are increases in retiree’s medical co-pays without a freeze on their other medical program costs, and without an inflation protection clause on their pension.

There are no improvements in sickness and personal time, vacation or holidays, or vision coverage.

There are also some things the union can be proud of in the new proposal—especially the breakthrough in the bonus for current retirees (the "13th check" this year) and the larger SERO 30/50 window for union members. And it is certainly true that without the fight we put up GE health care gouging would have been much worse—without the January Health Care strike, for example. The clause, which allowed GE to increase medical costs mid-contract, is gone from this proposal.

But most companies did not make $15 billion last year. And most companies did not make $1.5 billion out of the health care system alone. And most companies do not cling to an employee pension fund that is overfunded by $4.5 billion!

Where will we be in 4 years? There is no "bargaining security." The top GE negotiator slipped and referenced the year "2007, when you are down to 9,000 members"—as opposed to over 13,000 IUE/CWA members at GE today. With no new protections from farmout, outsourcing, plant closings, etc.—where will we be in 2007? In a better position, or weaker—to defend what we have and win what we need on health care, pensions, for the retirees, and job protections?

We have major issues to go after GE today on their health care profiteering, on theirgovernment-funded destruction of our jobs, and the plight of our older retirees.

Local 201 has many times in the past voted its conscience, based on the actual merits of the contract proposal--and we need to do so again.

We point no fingers at anyone, and we fully understand that there can be honest disagreement within a union. It’s called democracy.

Further information is being distributed in the shop by Local 201 leaflets.

It doesn’t add up. Right is right. Vote No on Tuesday, June 24.


Stewards Meeting
Friday, June 20, 1:30, at the Union Hall

Contract Information Membership Meeting
Monday, June 23
12:30 and 3:30 PM, St. Mike’s Hall

Local 201 News Out with Full Summary Monday, June 23

VOTE
6 AM to 5 PM in plant, TUESDAY, JUNE 24

IUE-CWA Local 201, AFL-CIO

 

We would like to apologize to the union officers of the IUE-CWA GE locals in Schenectady, Youngstown, Waterford, or other locals who were impacted by the fact that the following summary of the final GE offer and "tentative agreement" appeared on the Local 201 website for a few hours late Tuesday morning June 16. Those leaders and others were honoring the request of our national leadership that no contract information be released before the IUE-CWA GE Conference Board vote on the tentative agreement on Wednesday, June 16. We misunderstood that request, and printed the summary. We removed it immediately when we recognized our error.

We sincerely regret any embarrassment to the other leaders with whom we worked so hard during this contract mobilization period. It was our error, not anyone else’s, and it would be unfair for any other leader who was following the rules as they correctly understood them to take any heat for their actions. This was a hard-working group at the national table, and we were proud to work with them all.

Jeff Crosby, President - Ric Casilli, Business Agent

IUE-CWA Local 201

 

The GE 2003 Contract Offer:
A First Look

The Local 201 Executive Policy Board held a phone conference with Business Agent Ric Casilli in New York last night from 3:30 pm to 8:15 PM, going over 122 pages of the new GE contract offer. The GE final offer was tentatively agreed to by top negotiators IUE President Ed Fire and Conference Board Chairman Art Smith, and has been submitted to the full IUE-GE Negotiating Committee for a recommendation vote today (Tuesday). The GE-IUE Conference Board will vote on the agreement Wednesday.

We are still working to understand the effect of the GE final offer on Local 201 membership,particularly the new pension update and the increases in the pension minimum tables. While we continue to run numbers and seek additional clarification from the International Union and the Company, here are some of the facts that we do know.

Wages

The 4 year offer would increase wages by 3%, 2 ½ %, 2 ½%, and 3%. In includes askilled trades adder similar to the one in the 2000 agreement: one cent for each .15 cents above an hourly rate of $21.08 an hour, which will help those earning a day rate of R-18 or above, with a comparable adder for pieceworkers. The offer also includes 8 Cost-of-Living adjustments with a slight improvement in the Cost-of-Living formula, from 1 cent for each .1% increase in the federal cost-of-living index to one cent for each .09% increase in the cost-of-living index. There no improvement in the 60 cent Night Shift Bonus that some new hires without previous GE service earn instead of the 10 percent the rest of us get.

SERO, Bonus, and 30/50 Replacement Windows

All SERO and Bonus options are renewed. The Special Supplement remains at $350, but the eligibility is expanded. The Regular Supplement is increased from $14 to $15 x years service in 6/1/2003, and to $16 6/1/2005.

The 30/50 window feature (which allows an individual who is 50 years old with 30 years service (or who is 55 years old with 25 years service) to retire, seniority permitting, has been improved. Two 50/30 windows with replacements are provided, 600 slots effective Oct., Nov., 2003, and 420 effective Oct., Nov., 2005. These numbers exclude non-union GE workers. This compares with a single window with 850 slots in the 2000-2003 contract, 234 of which went to GE workers at the non-union shops. Qualifying language is the same or similar as for the window opportunities in the last contract.

Pension

We are still reviewing the pension information as the major features are complicated. The new pension update is slightly weaker than the 2000 language: (.75% of 3 year average pay to $30,000 and 1.45% of excess, times PBS through 12/31/2002, using high consecutive 3 Year average pay from 1997 to 2002.) The minimum tables appear stronger with the minimum increased from $28 to $33, and the maximum from $40 to $60, but are difficult to compare with previous charts as they are structured differently. We are in the process of reviewing how significant an improvement has been made on the pension. Member contributions to the pension plan starts at a higher threshold raised from $37,500 to $50,000 and then $60,000 during the life of the contract. (GE has made no contribution since 1988.)

Breakthrough one time payment in December 2003 for those retirees who retired on or before 1/1/2002 of an additional one month’s check minus supplements or VPA annuity. Surviving spouses, those on disability pension and vestees are eligible. This is the first time ever that the union has been able to negotiate an increase (really a bonus) for current retirees.

Medical/Insurance

Increases & Structural change in Insurance Contributions

Weekly contributions for health insurance will increase twice during the proposed contract, on 1/1/04 and 1/1/06. Payments will be based on a complicated system: whether one person, two people, or 3 or more are covered, sliding scales based on income level, and separate scales for HCP and traditional CMB. An example:

R-19 with spouse and child covered, May,2003 yearly 40 hr. base of $45,219

    Current contribution   1/1/04 contribution   1/1/06 contribution
HCP   

$8.71

   

$14.85

   

$23.35*

CMB   

$12.55

   

$21.37

   

$31.80*

             

*Raises in contract will push R-19 into $50,000-74,999 bracket

Variations in # of people covered (3 categories) or yearly base income (7 categories) will alter contributions.

The Jan. HCP co-pay increases are extended to CMB for Specialist, Inpatient, Emergency Room, and Prescriptions. Some improvements in CMB preventive care coverage. The HCP cost/benefits are set by contract thru 6/07 (no Jan. strikes?). There are also some improvements in rates for Dental Care.

Pre 65 Medical for Retirees

Current retirees, or those retired by 1/1/04, will have insurance contributions increased $4.33/mo. for individuals and $8.66/mo. with dependent. Those who retiree after 1/1/04 will pay the contributions of the new current employee plan, based on retirement income. However, the two tier structure still applies: if last shop income was over $60,000 you pay based on that income. 

Post 65 Medical for Current Retirees

Increase in 1st day of hospitalization coverage improved by $50. Prescription mail co-pays for 90 day mail order are increased from $20 to $25. Additional costs for brand name with generic available are applied. Drug cost max is improved; lowered from $2000 to $1500. No freeze on cost of Hospital Indemnity plan or GE Medical Insurance Plan for Pensioners.

JOB SECURITY

There is no significant improvement in outsourcing protection or other job security language.

OTHER IMPROVEMENTS and WEAK AREAS

There are a number of other minor improvements in the offer. The weekly Short Term Disability payment goes from $475 to $550 a week on 1/1/04, and to $600 on 1/1/06. The minimum benefit for Long Term Disability (which we pay for) goes up $50 a month in each category. The maximum contribution to Savings and Security would go from 17% to 30% (but no increase in the Company match!).

We emphasize that these are not all the facts on GE’s contract offer, and we ask that each and every member look closely at the information which will be provided by the Company and the Union over the next few days.

The four Local 201 elected delegates to the GE-IUE Conference Board will return from the Wednesday, June 18 Conference Board vote, and the Local 201 Executive Policy Board will vote a recommendation Wednesday evening. The Local 201 Stewards Council will meet at the Union Hall at 1:30 Friday. There Local 201 newspaper will come out Monday morning, June 23, and a membership meeting will hear an explanation of the offer and answer questions at 12:30 and 3:30 pm Monday at St.Mike’s Hall. Local 201 will vote at the same locations as last contract in the plant on Tuesday, June 24.

IUE-CWA Local 201 Executive Board and Officers
June 17, 2003

 

FINAL GE OFFER RECEIVED
UNION INITIATES REJECTION / RATIFICATION PROCESS

IUE-CWA President Ed Fire and GE Conference Board Chairman Art Smith have agreed to recommend acceptance of GE's final contract offer to the National Negotiating Committee. This offer is also being recommended to the UE Conference Board. The proposed contract would be for 4 years.

The IUE-CWA Negotiating Committee will vote its recommendation tomorrow, Tuesday, June 17th, and the Conference Board will vote on Wednesday, June 18th. If the Conference Board votes acceptance, there is then a tentative agreement, which will be voted on by the membership. If the Conference Board votes to reject the offer, then strike preparations will accelerate.

Local 201 will put confirmed details into the plant as soon as possible. Anything you hear before official union information comes out is unofficial and may not be accurate. If there is a tentative agreement due to an acceptance by the Conference Board, Local 201 will adhere to the following revised schedule:

Wednesday evening, June 18

Local 201 Executive Policy Board to vote its recommendation.

Friday 1:30 pm, June 20

Local 201 Stewards Council to meet and vote its recommendation.

Monday morning, June 23

201 News to be distributed with contract summary.

Monday 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. June 23

201 Monthly Membership and Contract information meetings. (Location to be announced.)

Tuesday June 24

201 Ratification Vote.

 

Jeff Crosby
President