BREAKING: General Electric Charged With Unfair Termination Of Pregnant Worker, Illegal Union Busting In Alabama Organizing Fight

In new charges filed by General Electric workers fighting to unionize in Alabama, workers allege GE issued illegal threats to close their factory, multiple retaliatory terminations of pro-union workers, illegal surveillance, and intimidation tactics

America’s largest GE workers union: Biden Labor Department must intervene in General Electric’s vicious violations of federal labor law
AUBURN, AL – Today, the nation’s largest union for General Electric workers announced it filed unfair labor practices (ULP) charges against GE for firing two pro-union employees at the GE Aviation Auburn plant, making multiple factory closure threats to pro-union workers, actively surveilling and intimidating pro-union workers on and off the job, and interfering with protected union activity.
National headlines were made by nearly 200 GE Aviation Auburn workers at this factory just weeks ago when they launched an historic new union organizing campaign at the Alabama plant which builds next-gen aircraft engines for the U.S. military and major airlines. They seek to become the first GE workers to unionize in nearly a decade.
IUE-CWA, the largest union for GE workers, filed the unfair labor practices (ULP) charges against GE with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and provided a detailed account of GE Auburn managers wrongfully terminating pro-union employees Tyrone Dawkins, a former first shift manufacturing associate at GE Aviation, and Brenyetta Talley, a pregnant mother supporting two children and her father who has cancer.
Brenyetta Tally, Wrongfully Fired GE Auburn worker: “GE firing workers like me who are standing up for our rights on the job is clearly an effort by management to silence our voices. As a mother with a high-risk pregnancy supporting two kids and my dad who has cancer, I needed this job to provide for my family. Since I started at GE Auburn in 2016, I received multiple awards for my production quality and never had an issue, until workers like me started speaking out about unfair treatment at the plant and began organizing a union. As a pregnant worker, my rights were violated when I was forced to take a grinder position where I had to repeatedly lift 60-pound bags and was provided next to no training. I began to see managers watching me and observing my line multiple times each day. And in July, when I was in an approved area taking a call about my dad’s cancer treatments, GE managers used this as an excuse to fire me. I am standing together with GE Auburn workers to form a union because we want the freedom to make our voices heard for the better pay and benefits we have earned. This GE union-busting has to stop now.”
Tyrone Dawkins, Wrongfully Fired GE Auburn worker: “When I started at GE Auburn, they promised opportunities to build my skills and grow in the job. GE broke that promise when they fired me last month after learning I was pro-union. I recently passed a performance test with flying colors and I received strong support from my trainer and another co-worker. When I struggled in a second area, GE was supposed to provide a chance to try a different department. Instead, GE used this as an excuse to fire me, despite three different co-workers saying they had never seen managers refuse to allow an employee to move to a different department. We deserve better from a company making billions of dollars off the backs of our labor and that’s why I am standing together with GE Auburn workers to demand managers recognize our union and end the scare tactics trying to silence us. We are not backing down.”
In a newly-released letter to the NLRB, IUE-CWA as the nation’s largest union for GE workers details the wide-ranging GE union-busting tactics that aviation workers at the Auburn plant have faced. In addition to wrongful termination, the union alleges that management has made multiple factory closure threats to pro-union workers, actively surveilled and intimidated pro-union workers on and off the job, and interfered with protected union activity.
IUE-CWA Conference Board Chairman Jerry Carney: “GE workers in Alabama are fighting back against this illegal union-busting and demanding that this giant corporation be held accountable. There is no excuse for GE firing, surveilling, and intimidating these Alabama workers who are exercising their right to form a union for the strong voice on the job and better pay and working conditions they have earned. As the nation’s largest union for GE workers, IUE-CWA is proud to stand with these GE Auburn workers to call on the company to immediately end its ruthless union-busting tactics and support a free and fair union election. As GE spends billions to break up the company and potentially endanger the jobs of GE workers across the country, it’s more important than ever for GE worker voices to be heard.”
On August 22, GE Auburn workers submitted union cards with IUE-CWA to the Birmingham NLRB office on August 22 and announced that GE workers across the country are mobilizing and taking steps to form unions at their factories as well.
Alabama families are facing rising prices from inflation, making it harder for wages to keep up. As GE’s $2.5 billion plan to break up the company moves forward, the company is only creating more uncertainty about what the future holds for all GE workers and the communities that have counted on these jobs for decades. Fueled by these concerns and inspired by a national wave of worker activism at Fortune 500 companies like Amazon and Starbucks, these GE Auburn workers have come together in a push to form the first-ever union at the factory.
Since launching their union campaign in April, the 179 workers in the plant have faced a wide range of GE union-busting tactics intended to intimidate them. GE workers report being subjected to mandatory anti-union captive audience meetings, misleading management flyers, unannounced pop-up drug testing, new security cameras to monitor their work, and unlawful threats from managers that their factory will shut down if workers form a union. Despite this, today a strong majority of workers have already expressed their support for the union, with support continuing to grow stronger every week.
IUE-CWA, the union that GE Auburn workers are seeking to join, represents thousands of GE workers in plants across the country, including factories in Ohio, Kansas, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and New York. GE Auburn workers launched this union campaign to demand better pay, better healthcare, hazard pay for those working with dangerous chemicals, and job security.
The GE Aviation plant in Auburn, Alabama employs 179 workers across a wide range of departments that support the production of vital components for both U.S. military aviation equipment as well as major commercial airline manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus. Opening in April 2013, the GE Aviation plant in Auburn was the first of its kind to mass produce additive components for the jet propulsion industry.
GE Auburn has been one of the company’s most productive factories in the country. This GE plant builds a fuel nozzle on the widely-used LEAP jet engine which powers Airbus, Boeing, and other major aircraft.
When the Auburn factory expanded in 2014, GE promised that production would quickly ramp up from 1,000 fuel nozzles manufactured annually to more than 40,000 by 2020. By 2021, the GE Auburn facility produced 100,000 fuel nozzles and the workforce there has been pioneering technology in jet engine component production. Reports that GE managers have told employees the Auburn factory would close if workers form a union stand in stark contrast to the productivity numbers GE itself has released. GE Auburn productivity levels also clearly demonstrate the value these workers are creating for the company, providing strong evidence to back up their call for GE to increase pay for the factory’s workers.
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