Bargaining Update Friday June 12, 2015

Bargaining Update Friday June 12, 2015

President Clark returned to the table today from the CWA Convention. Conference Chairman Bob Santamoor and the bargaining committee congratulated him on his re-election as President of IUE-CWA and Vice President of CWA.

Today was the final day of large table discussions

GE’s lead negotiator John Gritti thanked the bargaining committee for their professionalism, their good ideas, and their dedication.   He also thanked his GE team for their work at the large table, and invited them each to speak briefly.

The main GE management team members all spoke briefly, expressing respect for the bargaining committee and willingness to work together in the subcommittee meetings to bridge the gap and get a contract.   Management reiterated their position that the GE job package is one of the best in the U.S., and stated that, “The road to success over the next ten days is to continue to partner for solutions. We have always found a way to respect each others opinion and find solutions, and that has made us strong.”

Chairman Santamoor Bob thanked the GE Bargaining team for their professionalism at the main table, and for asking good questions to clarify the union positions.

President Clark also spoke briefly, and reminded GE that IUE-CWA made hard choices in 2011, which were not easy.

“What we did in the past two contracts will already result in a continuing decline in liability for pension and post-retirement healthcare for GE,” Clark stated. “The Union did those things for job security and the future of our U.S. facilities. What we agreed to has to be given time. I understand stockholder equity is important and Wall Street judges the corporation by that, but shifting costs to our members is not the answer here.”

President Clark also told GE, “Healthcare has to be fixed before we leave here. We have to fix this health care so that our members, your workers, feel secure enough to focus on their jobs and not healthcare.”

Every member of the IUE-CWA and CBC Bargaining teams spoke briefly to GE management, giving the perspective of the memberships of their Unions and locals on what the most essential issues are for these negotiations.

Many of those comments centered on health care cost increases for our members, the complexity of the current health care system, and the hardships both of those have created for our members. Others spoke about the degree to which GE will lose good employees if they continue to follow industry trends to cut benefits. Many spoke eloquently on behalf of the current retirees who built GE and the unfairness of attacking benefits they earned over many years of labor, and passionately on behalf of the second tier employees who are the future of GE and the need to build loyalty between them and the company to make a decision for a lifetime career with GE.

The committee expressed optimism that an agreement can be reached, but only if GE will make tough decisions and take steps forward to bridge the gap.

Following the main table adjournment, the Union bargaining team members met internally and were assigned by Chairman Santamoor to the different subcommittees. They will prep throughout the weekend for their respective subcommittee bargaining meetings next week.