General Electric Co. released details of a proposed four-year collective bargaining agreement that will be voted on by members of 11 unions by July 11, 2019. GE’s chief negotiator Paul Lalli stated the agreement would provide "good wages and meaningful benefits to our employees while addressing the unique challenge we face today to return GE to a position of strength."
The current labor agreements cover employees at GE, GE Aviation, GE Power, GE Lighting, and GE Healthcare.
Among the highlights of the new deal offered by GE are:
• Three general wage increases totaling $1.80, two cash payments totaling $3,000, and a ratification bonus of $1,500;
• Improvements to pension packages and extra contributions to a 401(k) plan;
• No medical contribution increases in 2020, low- or no-cost medications, and new maternity care coverage in some markets;
• Help for job and retirement transitions, including training and placement support;
• Paid leave for new parents, enhanced pay for military service, and increases to short- and long-term disability benefits, among other benefits improvements.
GE has 6,600 employees represented by contracts with multiple unions that cooperate as the Coordinated Bargaining Committee. The largest of these is the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers - Communications Workers of America (IUE-CWA). Other unions in the CBC include the IAM, UAW, IBEW, and IFPTE.
“The IUE-CWA delegates have voted to recommend the new contract to its members for ratification, and the other CBC unions have approved sending the proposed agreement to their membership for a ratification vote,” Lalli noted.
Reportedly the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is opposed to the proposed deal. The IAM claims that its member would lose overtime work opportunities they currently receive when starting early or staying to work past a shift, notably in GE Aviation operations.
“Our recommendation is to reject,” Brian Bryant, IAM general vice president quoted to Reuters. “It’s what we consider a concessionary contract.”