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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.

GE lack of work update August 28, 2014

GE LACK OF WORK SITUATION REPORT
THURSDAY, AUGUST 28, 2015

 

The Company/ Union Replacement Committee met early today discussing the Company announced job reductions and openings mentioned in yesterday’s report. After some discussion, the Company has now reduced the 98 announced reductions to 94 at this time. Plant IV job openings remain at 90 at this time and there is likely also going to be some additional openings in the Building 63 Flight Support Center.  The employment office has began calling members in impacted classifications plantwide that have put in for retirement options previously (or currently) to see if they wish to retire October 1, 2014 – mainly those 60 or over with more than 15 years service that have applied for the SVLB  ($18,000 bonus) retirement option. The 94 reduction number would drop with each daywork member retirement that cancels out a lack of work. There has been no change reported in regard to the Piecework members retirement numbers listed in yesterdays report.

 

Members impacted by the reduction will be notified by the Company Friday and will be called by the employment office beginning next week for job placement. Members should wait to be called before going to the employment office for placement. Aircraft Board member Jeff Francis and Business Agent Ric Casilli will be monitoring the placement process

 

Shift polling has started in Plant IV of the Plant IV members that plan to stay working to identify where the openings will be for the employment office. Plant IV Board Member Mark Workman and stewards are monitoring this process.

 

The Company/ Union Plant IV jobs sub-committee shall begin meetings next week to begin working on bringing the farmed out work (from Table 1 of Appendix B of the Piecework Agreement) back in house. Boards Member Skip Brown, Fred Russell and VP Pete Capano will be heading up the union team involved in this process

 

We will keep you posted

Piecework negotiations update Friday June 6, 2014

IUE-CWA LOCAL 201 GE
PIECEWORK NEGOTIATIONS REPORT
FRIDAY, JUNE 6, 2014 (from Local 201 Website)
 
• Bargaining Sessions were held Monday, June 2 and Wednesday, June 4 this week.
 
• Little progress was made – Union and Company Proposals remain far apart.
 
• Company rejected Union’s simple Proposal # 4A compensation provisions providing for a permanent “Red Circle” for current pieceworkers @ average earnings,
 
• Company rejected Union’s more complicated Proposal #5 compensation provisions that included a temporary “Red Circle” period for current pieceworkers @ average earnings, extending pension update years to include 2011, 2012, and 2013/2014, retirement options and varying piecework “buyout bonuses” depending on whether someone retires or stays and transitions to piecework.
 
• Union rejected Company Proposal #5 compensation provisions which provided a retirement incentive program for those ages 60 and over that was less than the regular VRIP bonus, a SERO/SERO 30 program (those age 50-59) with no buyout bonus, and a piecework buyout bonus for those staying less than one half of what the union proposed. There was no red circle period, no pension update or pension improvements, and no piecework “buyout” bonuses for anyone retiring
 
• Union rejected Company Proposal #6 compensation provisions which provided a retirement incentive program for those ages 60 and over that was the same as the VRIP Bonus, a SERO/SERO 30 program (age 50-59) with no buyout bonus, and a short temporary period for those staying where they would get paid a rate in between their average rate and the new daywork rate. There was no red circle period at average earnings, no pension update or pension improvements, and no piecework “buyout” bonuses for anyone. Members staying would be worse off under this proposal than they were under inadequate previous company proposal
 
• Union and Company proposals also far apart on Job Security provisions but these have not been discussed much yet due to time being spent on compensation part of an agreement
 
• Union stated that the Company proposals would not come near to achieving the 50-75 Plant IV retirements they desired. They would be lucky to get a “handful”.
 
• Union stated the Company proposals would hurt badly the business, schedules, productivity, training and skills retention.
 
• Union stated our members would never accept such a low compensation offer in the areas of pension (nothing) and buyout bonuses (little to nothing)
 
• Union requested a serious Company proposal that was in the “ballpark”.
 
• More negotiation details coming- Tuesday, June 10, 2014 Local 201 Newspaper
 
• Next Bargaining session is Monday. June 9, 2014.
 
 
 

Piecework Negotiations Update Friday May 30, 2014

IUE-CWA LOCAL 201 PIECEWORK NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE

Friday, May 30 2014

 

The Company and Union met again on Thursday, May 29 2014. The Company rejected Local 201’s proposal for a permanent red circle stating that the union’s proposal does not address the need to reduce shop rate, improve competitiveness or allow for the rebalancing of labor with Lynn.

 

The Union disagreed with the Company’s assessment of our proposal stating the Union proposal would do all of the above, especially if the Company began immediate hiring (following an agreement) of members into Plant IV on daywork rated jobs and brought in large amounts farmed out work. The Union pointed out that acceptance of the Union’s proposed permanent red circle would “greatly simplify” these negotiations. Such acceptance would close out the “compensation” part of the package and allow the parties to concentrate the negotiations on just the job security provisions.

 

The company continued to reject the permanent red circle and presented an adjusted proposal that increased the incentive payment for pieceworkers (age 60 and over) wishing to retire and for pieceworkers staying and transitioning to day work rate at the end of June 2014. The Company proposal continued to provide SERO and SERO 30 opportunities for most pieceworkers under age 60. The company increased their commitments on the number of immediate Plant IV day work postings from 30 to 50

Piecework negotiations update.

OFFICIAL IUE- LOCAL 201 COMMUNICATION FRIDAY MAY 23, 2014
Negotiations resumed yesterday regarding the piecework system.
The Company responded to the important “compensation” part of Local 201’s April 23rd proposal. The Company rejected the Union proposed “permanent red circle” at average earnings for all current pieceworkers. The Company countered with an offer of a low lump sum “buyout” for all those pieceworkers not retiring, while moving them immediately to a day work rate on their same job. For those pieceworkers choosing to retire who are age 6o years or older (with at least 15 years of continuous service) the company offered a retirement bonus much larger than the $18,000 regular Retirement Bonus but much smaller than most pieceworkers’ past VRIP one time payments. For those at least age 55 but under age 60 (with 25 or more years PQS), they offered the SERO (with full benefits). For those under age 55(with at least 30 years PQS), they offered SERO 30 (with full benefits).
The Union recessed for a short period following the Company presentation of this new compensation part of their proposal. When negotiations resumed, the Union rejected the Company’s compensation proposal stating we do not believe it comes near to meeting our members’ needs or the needs of the business in terms of a transition. The Union then said that we would be willing to modify our own last compensation proposal #4 and remove any retirement options but maintain the important “permanent red circle” of pieceworkers at average earnings. The Union told the Company that our proposal not only protects our current pieceworkers’ wages and future pensions, but ensures a smoother transition of skills over time to the new day work positions that will be in Plant IV. The Company said they would review the Union’s modified proposal #4.
Current pieceworkers’ receiving fair and proper compensation is one important part of this negotiation. However, there is also an important job security aspect of this negotiation. If the Union has to be forced to end a beneficial pay stem for future members across the plant, the Union wants some decent job security provisions in any agreement. The Union and Company proposals currently “on the table” both have provisions regarding hiring, farm-in and investment into Plant IV. However, the Company job security commitments in these areas fall far short of what will be acceptable to the Union
Negotiations will resume on Thursday May 29, 2014. We will keep you posted as developments occur. Communications will be on Local 201 web-site also.
IUE-CWA LOCAL 201

Piecework negotiation update May 12, 2014

UNSIGNED DOCUMENT ON PIECEWORK
NOT ACCURATE
(5-12-14)
 
An unsigned document showed up in Plant IV sometime on Friday, May 9, 2014. IT IS NOT ACCURATE!
 
It states that “the SERO -30 early retirement option for employees under 55 years old has been removed.”  It is true that the Company, on May 2, 2014, stated that they never offered that option in negotiations and there is a dispute with the Union as to whether it was in fact offered verbally. This matter is being reported on in the Tuesday, May 13, 2014 edition of the Local 201 News. The fact is that SERO-30 for pieceworkers has NOT been removed from the bargaining table.
 
 
 
 

Piecework negotiations.

UPDATE ON PIECEWORK NEGOTIATIONS
Friday, April 25, 2014
 
Our negotiations with GE in regard to the Plant IV Piecework system will be soon entering their 4th month. Negotiations opened January 27, 2014 with a Company proposal to eliminate the piecework system in Plant IV on July 1, 2014, but contained only an offer of Retirement Bonuses or SERO/SERO 30 for all the current pieceworkers eligible.
 
The negotiations have been reported on extensively in the last 3 editions of the Local 201 Newspaper and at the last 3 monthly membership meetings. There are also a series of reports up on the Local 201 Website.
 
The Union completely rejected the Company’s initial proposal and over the last 3 months has presented the Company with 3 proposals to modify the piecework formulas rather than eliminate the entire system.
 
The Union proposals would have saved the Company significant money and brought the shop rate down. More importantly, the Union’s bargaining committee proposals were aimed at not only trying to defend our current pieceworkers’ wages and benefits but were also focused on attempting to save a modified incentive job paying system for all our members to be able to upgrade to in the future.  
 
After 7 bargaining sessions and lengthy debate and arguments, the Company unfortunately continues to express zero interest in maintaining any type of piecework system. Despite all our arguments, the Company is convinced that the piecework system is outdated and not conducive to lowering shop rate, lacks management resources to manage it, and is a hindrance to transforming Lynn manufacturing into one flexible manufacturing shop. The Company also repeatedly states the increased productivity of the system does not make up for the increased Company costs the system incurs. The Union disagrees with these assessments and believes a modified system would work if it was managed properly and there was a consistent flow of work in front of members.
 
The Company has indicated that should we not reach an agreement on eliminating the piecework system and transitioning it to daywork by the 3rd quarter, that layoffs to the street could occur this year and Lynn will not be positioned to have much chance of attracting new engine work over the next 4 years, as our current engine program work scales down.
 
The Company gave the Union a 2nd proposal on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 that was similar to their first proposal to eliminate piecework and offered little for incumbent pieceworkers, but made some small commitments on hiring, farm-in and investment. Faced with this immovable Company position and this economic and work forecast, the Local 201 union bargaining committee (not enthusiastically) countered the Company proposal with a 4th Union proposal and our first proposal that would eliminate the piecework system.
 
The essence of the Union’s proposal was that the Company could eliminate the piecework system on July 1, 2014, but that all current incumbent pieceworkers would be “red circled” at average earnings permanently. The Union proposal contained retirement options to be granted to all current pieceworkers eligible that included the $18,000 Bonus or full benefit SERO/SERO 30 options. Also included in the Union’s proposal were provisions for immediate farm-in of work, investment, immediate additional hiring and replacement hiring in Plant IV.
 
The Company is now reviewing the new Local 201 proposal and the next bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday April 30, 2014.
 
The 201 GE Piecework Bargaining Committee is made up of BA Ric Casilli, President Alex Brown, VP Pete Capano, Board Members Mark Workman, Fred Russell, Skip Brown & Jeff Francis; Plant IV Shop Stewards Rick Young, Helen Hughes, Samantha Bansfield, Karl Eddy, Mike McDermott, Wayne Murray, & Pat Ryan; Plant IV member Tony Pagliuca and former Plant IV Board Member Fred Merchant Jr.
 
 
 
 
 
    Alex Brown                               Ric Casilli                           Pete Capano
     President                               Business Agent                    Vice- President
 
IUE-CWA LOCAL 201
 
 
 
 
 
 
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