General Electric Documents Reveal it Will Attempt to Offshore Even More U.S. Jobs on Heels of Securing $315 Million in U.S. Taxpayer Funding

LATEST OFFSHORING CONTROVERSY FOLLOWS COMPANY PULLING IN $4 BILLION IN GOVERNMENT DEFENSE WORK IN 2021, AND $315 MILLION BOOST FOR FY2022 THROUGH NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT

WORKERS CALL FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO INTERVENE AS GE TELLS TAXPAYERS THEIR MONEY IS GOING ELSEWHERE
LYNN, MA – Internal communications sent to employees by General Electric [GE] executives have revealed new offshoring plans being put forward by the struggling company, even as it prepares to ingest more than $315 million in new taxpayer funds provided through the National Defense Authorization Act.

The revelations are stirring up new controversy for GE at a time when it is poised to begin seeking regulatory and other approvals for a restructuring expected to cost GE $2 billion and which would split the company up into a series of smaller companies.

GE took in more than $4 billion in taxpayer-funded United States defense work in 2021, so the news of eighty more jobs being outsourced from GE’s “River Works” plant in Lynn, MA has inflamed simmering tensions among its workforce and may put GE on the hot seat with elected officials.

“GE has ample space and resources in the U.S.-based facility in Lynn, Massachusetts to do this work efficiently, on-time, and on-budget, including a committed and highly skilled local workforce. It needs to focus on doing the work the right way in the place that makes the most sense – and that’s right here in the United States where taxpayers are already footing the bill,” said Adam Kaszynski, a factory worker at the Lynn, MA GE plant who also represents the plant’s workforce as Local President of IUE-CWA Local 201. “GE seems to be distracted with the $2 billion they are spending in an attempt to split into three companies. It seems this is being done to appease the greed of Trian, a hedge fund calling a lot of the shots on the board despite holding less than 5% of the company’s shares.”

The eighty jobs in question include military aviation manufacturing jobs. Based on internal communications obtained by the U.S. factory workers at the company’s largest unionized domestic facility, GE plans to move much of the work to South Korea, Canada, India, France, and China and non-union domestic facilities. 

Workers have been raising the alarm on GE’s failure to invest in the workforce of America, despite the U.S. government being one of its largest clients. The “GE: Bring it Home” campaign began late last year, backed by a coalition that ranged from leading U.S. veterans groups to major environmental advocacy organizations. The campaign has been meeting with elected officials and GE workers in multiple states and in Washington, D.C. to raise awareness of the negative impact of outsourcing threats like those recently raised in Lynn, MA.

The campaign has also offered an affirmational message, saying GE has a chance to regain its footing and to become a healthy company leading in key spaces like defense and green energy by bringing work back to the United States, rather than further stretching its supply chains and footprint through multi-billion dollar offshore and overseas investments.

Workers at multiple GE factories have engaged in days of action as part of the campaign and employees at the Lynn, GE plant have vowed that they will be fighting back against the latest outsourcing and offshoring threats specific to their plant.

“This approach and offshoring in the face of major investments from the U.S. government and U.S. taxpayers is unpatriotic and seems to be another poor decision by GE that won’t just hurt workers, it will also ultimately hurt shareholders, taxpayers, and our military, ” added Justin Richards, a factory worker and Business Agent at IUE-CWA Local 201. 
“This is exactly why we are raising the alarm to elected officials and other key stakeholders through the GE: Bring it Home campaign. It’s time for GE to start listening to the workers who made it a powerhouse and can do so once again if the company begins to value the people who actually make the products that it sells to its clients, business partners, and the Department of Defense.”

Workers said details of protests centered on the threatened outsourcing and offshoring of jobs will be forthcoming along with other potential actions to continue calling on GE to begin refocusing its immense taxpayer and defense revenues into creating family-sustaining union jobs in the United States.

Workers have also vowed to ramp up their outreach to elected officials at both the state and federal levels to address the question of how to begin ensuring that domestic government resources allocated to GE are used to protect, advance, and increase domestic job growth – rather than the opposite.

GE’s facility in Lynn has seen a 90% reduction in its workforce since 1985 when it employed over 13,000 unionized hourly workers. Offshoring, outsourcing, and transfers of work just like this have left Lynn workers behind as GE continues to expand and invest in their facilities overseas. 

Since 2010, GE has invested over $1 billion dollars in its overseas facilities, including a $200 million investment in its Pune India brilliant factory, one of the sites where Lynn’s work is slated to move to. This trend of systematic disinvestment was well-documented in a recent report from UMass Boston Labor Resource Center and the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations which stated, “Over the past 50 years, a steady stream of value-added work, along with the associated work hours, has been moved to plants all over the world, systemically damaging Lynn’s profitability and long-term viability.” 

“After learning about GE’s plans to split, we’ve had questions as a community about where GE’s long-standing relationship with the City is headed. Continued cuts to River Works would be devastating,” said City of Lynn Mayor Jared Nicholson.

 “Investment would be revitalizing. Elected officials at all levels need to come together to help us drive this point home: with the right investment, GE and their workers can power growth in our communities, growth that serves our national interest. We want to work with our partners in state and federal government, IUE-CWA 201, and GE to help make that happen.”

“We are in solidarity with our brothers and sisters abroad, other GE workers like us, and believe that, mainly, domestic production should service local and regional needs, and we should not repeatedly be pitted against each other in a never-ending spiral of lowering standards, wage cuts and job losses,” said IUE-CWA national official Jerry Carney

“We want Lynn to be the place where a new chapter is written – where GE stops cutting and starts reinvesting in America – building engines and hardware for civilian and military aviation, even offshore wind turbines and components. We can do all that and more.” said Norman Blanchard, a IUE-CWA Local 201 member and GE worker at the Lynn River Works facility for over 43 years. 

“For decades we manufactured turbines in Lynn,” Blanchard said, “We have the skills to produce them for the offshore wind farms scheduled for New England coastal waters.”

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About IUE-CWA:

As the Industrial Division of CWA, IUE-CWA represents a force of 150,000 active and retired men and women united collectively to seek dignity on the job and a secure future for ourselves, our children and all future generations.

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