Congressman Moulton Takes Tour of Transfer of Work Affected Areas to Talk to Workers
Congressman Moulton Takes Tour of Transfer of Work Affected Areas to Talk to Workers, MA Congressional Delegation Demands More from GE
Lynn Daily Item, "GE UNION SAYS 80 LYNN JOBS TO BE OUTSOURCED"
Boston Herald, "Union leaders: General Electric plans to offshore 80 jobs from its Lynn facility"
Update 2-8-22: Boston Globe, "Markey, Warren, Moulton lean on GE to bring back work to Lynn"
On January 26th Congressman for the MA 6th District Seth Moulton came into the Riverworks plant for a Union led tour. The Local 201 Board took him to see the 3 areas the Company is trying to destroy through the transfer of work notice issued on January 14th 2022 and talk to the affected workers on the floor.
The first stop on the tour was MPO in 2nd-74. Members explained that their military work was being sent to overseas, and a non-union shop in the USA and that commercial work was being sent to GE in Pune, India, along with various non-union shops in the USA. One long service member explained how GE Lynn has been transformed over the years to a shadow of its former self. Disinvestment, declining wages, loss of pension, and about 7,000 good Union jobs outsourced or otherwise destroyed since he first punched in. He asked how it was possible the military and government allow military work to be done overseas, with tax payer dollars, while we keep losing jobs. Another member approached with a handful of proposals about how GE could easily keep that work in Lynn. People talked about how they would get jobs set up running smooth only to have GE then ship the planning, fixtures and processes overseas. And the junk they had to fix or replace that was farmed out. One member pointed at all the empty space and storage that used to be productive manufacturing space and said “look at what they have done to this place”.
The second stop on the tour was TEPM on the first floor of 74, an area that suffered from a massive transfer of work in 2021, and now again in 2022. A milling machine operator explained how many machines had been torn out of the area on the south end and throughout the building. A bench hand explained after his 15 years of meeting targets and improving both efficiency and quality in TEPM he felt betrayed to see work go to Korea and non-union shops in the US after the devotion he and his coworkers had given the area. Another member asked about the national security implications of GE’s sprawling supply chain, which Moulton agreed was a grave concern.
The final stop on the tour was the Platinum cell in Building 66. Once the bread and butter of Building 66, the Platinum cell has been absolutely decimated by mismanagement and farmout for the past few years. Now the Company intends to send the rest of the work out. Someone wondered whether management was driving the place into the ground on purpose. One member said he had been sitting on IME for days waiting on a cheap tool, and that was not an anomaly. A long service member talked about back when the building was piecework, you couldn’t even have a conversation it was so loud with productive activity. The Company complained about the “high” shop cost of piece work, which they ended, and now their shop cost is even HIGHER. Another member talked about waiting on parts that can be done inhouse, from an outside vendor. He sits on IME while the Company farms out his work and pays over double for the same work, and it takes longer from the vendor than it does from him. GE management tells Congressman Moulton delinquency is a major obstacle to keeping our work or getting new work. Local 201 members in Platinum set the record straight and gave numerous examples how management decisions like, not fixing machines, not stocking tools, farming out, are driving the delinquency. The group is tired of “talk” they want somebody to DO SOMETHING about it, and conveyed that directly and clearly to the Congressman.
The tour was a success thanks to the participation and engagement of the 201 members in MPO, TEPM, and Platinum cell – who are on the frontlines fighting for all of us. Workers in those areas have been coming up with proposals and statements that the 201 bargaining committee is using to try to keep the work in Lynn. This tour should serve as a wakeup call to Congress and GE. Congress and GE must bring the work Home, back to Lynn.
Update 2-9-22: On February 8th 2022, Congressman Moulton, Senator Warren, and Senator Markey issued a letter to GE that was covered in the Boston Globe, "Markey, Warren, Moulton lean on GE to bring back work to Lynn". Our congressional delegation made the following demands:
1. Build the T-901 in the United States and return T-700 work to Lynn that has been sent abroad.
Infrastructure that is critical to our national defense should not be vulnerable to private sector supply chain disruptions or strategic political interference. Understandably, GE Aviation often commits to completing the work for foreign countries in those countries. The same should be the case with fulfilling obligations to the U.S. government. Despite this, we understand that T-700 work for the U.S. military is currently being done in Romania and Korea. This work should be brought back to the United States wherever possible, and GE Aviation should make a public commitment, backed by a clear plan, to building the new T-901 engines in the United States.
2. Establish more “Brilliant Factories” stateside.
GE's Lynn, Massachusetts facility deserves to become a “brilliant factory” with substantial investment from GE Aviation. Our understanding is GE Aviation has committed to invest around $30 million at the Lynn facility. While this is a promising start, GE is investing over $200 million to create brilliant factories in other locations. Lynn has a storied history, skilled workforce, a well-established training pipeline, space on-site, and links to freight networks and large markets that would make it a sound investment for GE Aviation.
3. Invest in an American workforce to make American products.
The American manufacturing workforce is rapidly aging, with many GE Aviation workers reaching retirement age in the next few years. At the same time, GE Aviation is seeking waivers from the Buy American Act to meet existing contract obligations. In order to meet the contract obligations for the T-700 and T-901 engines, GE must move aggressively to hire and train American workers to do this work. In Lynn, however, our understanding is that although GE has committed to hiring 75-100 salaried positions, it has presented no clear training or hiring strategy for bargaining unit direct and indirect labor positions. Recent investment by the GE Foundation and Commonwealth of Massachusetts has established a strong foundation; however, a robust plan to scale up programs like this is needed to ensure that current and future obligations to the U.S. government can be met with a highly-skilled American workforce.
4. We ask that GE immediately rescind the transfer of work announcement delivered to IUE-CWA Local 201 on Friday, January 14, 2022, and preserve in Lynn the positions that GE proposes to offload over the next 18 months to other facilities, including those overseas. Doing so would not only keep work in Lynn, but also demonstrate a commitment by GE to keep manufacturing in the United States and invest in the future of the American workforce.
Lynn workers have led the way in innovative manufacturing for our country since General Electric’s inception. Now, as GE Aviation charts its path forward on its own, we implore you to make an investment in these workers. It is a commitment that they have earned and one that is in the strategic and economic interests of our nation.
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