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Piecework negotiations update.

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.

Piecework negotiation update May 12, 2014

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.

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

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”.  


Make it in Lynn … 

Wear Your “Farm-in” button; watch out for your work.


[The Local 201 Next Generation Committee hosted a discussion with 201 stewards and officers to create a network in the shop to monitor farm out.  The following flier and buttons should be in the shops.  If not, see your steward to find out how to be involved.]


The Union, through our steward network and Executive Board members, is vigilant on monitoring farmed-out work and is working to prevent unnecessary farm-out.  If the Company chooses to farm-out ongoing production work when they don’t expect layoffs they still must tell the Union.  Sometimes they don’t and that is a contract violation.  Local 201 needs your help! 


The teeth that make the contract language stronger are our members’ vigilance.  Members understand the work flow, the impact of a broken machine and the way to get things done that newer management people may not understand.  The Union uses farm-out notices to make common sense arguments where we can to keep more work in house and there have been successes.


When the Company planned to farm-out eight or nine shifts of work for the EDM group in building 77 J due to a minor maintenance issue, a member gave a steward a heads up.  The work was returned, since there had been no notice, and since the maintenance issue was resolved the farm-out was cut in half.


Farm-in takes persistence!  After 15 years, the Union has been able to get the T700 diffuser casing farmed-in to Building 74 from a local vendor. 


If the Company wants to bring craft subcontractors into the plant, they are required to notify the Union and bring it to the Crafts “21 day notice” committee which meets regularly. One success in the Crafts is the awarding of the contract to refurbish the office areas in Building 74 that put plumbers, electricians, carpenters, tinsmiths and RC’s to work. 


Our contract language on farm-out is weak.  It requires the Company to give 60 day or 6 months’ notice (depending on the type of work) and to bargain with the Union if they expect the transfer of work to cause layoffs.  Local 201 has often entered into decision bargaining to stop these transfers and sometimes we have been successful.  The contract, however, does not mandate the Company to keep the work after such negotiation which makes it difficult.  Company labor relations representatives have repeatedly told the Union that they have the right to manage or “mismanage” the Business as they see fit.


So, take a button and wear it proudly!  Tell your Steward if you see your work going out.  Help your Steward get the facts to argue to keep the work in.  The button’s a reminder:


Farm-In; Make it Right, 201 Pride in Lynn!

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