Some General Electric employees in Lynn, Mass., and Schenectady, N.Y., have turned down a proposed four-year labor agreement negotiated last month, an unexpected development according to published reports. In fact, a majority of unionized workers approved the deal, but local unions in those locations reported their members had vetoed the agreement in sufficient numbers to reject the contract under the union's rules.
Those locals are affiliated with the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers - Communications Workers of America (IUE-CWA), one of eleven unions represented in the Coordinated Bargaining Committee that negotiated the terms for approximately 6,600 GE workers.
The IUE-CWA had recommended approval to its members, according to GE’s chief negotiator Paul Lalli in comments last month. Lalli emphasized 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."
Reportedly the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents employees of GE Aviation, opposed to the proposed deal and recommended rejecting it. The IAM claimed 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.
It’s not known how the IAM locals have voted on the offer.
The current labor agreements cover employees at General Electric, GE Power, GE Lighting, and GE Healthcare, as well as GE Aviation.
GE has not commented on the results of the vote. 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.