General Electric workers from across the country made their voices heard recently at the first annual GE stakeholders meeting. As part of the national Coalition for Sustainable and Secure Energy and Aviation Manufacturing, GE workers stood with leaders from Congress, the U.S. military, environmental advocacy groups, national labor unions, and economic experts.
Together, they sent a clear message to GE that the company must reinvest in American manufacturing and the good union jobs essential to GE military aviation production helping to keep our troops safe and GE wind energy output vital to building our green energy economy.
Greenpeace USA, Senators Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, and leaders from the U.S. military and national labor unions sound alarm on GE practices weakening manufacturing divisions and undermining GE leadership in renewable energy, aviation, and defense
The stakeholder event sent a clear message that GE must focus on the fundamentals like the U.S. manufacturing operations vital to its long-term success, commit to building a sustainable domestic supply chain, and halting job cuts to American manufacturing plants. This is key to GE’s role as a leader advancing the green energy transition with wind turbines made and installed here in the U.S. and supporting U.S. troops with vital military aviation equipment.
“GE management is spending $2.5 billion to break up the company into three pieces and $3 billion on new stock buybacks. This is the wrong direction,” said IUE-CWA President Carl Kennebrew.
“We’re calling on GE to put the industrial future of America first, with a bold $5 billion investment in its U.S. manufacturing and an end to its offshoring and outsourcing, letting workers have a seat on the Board of Directors, and letting shareholders vote on the planned break-up. GE workers are preparing for 2023 contract negotiations, and company executives should answer our call for a fair contract that protects good-paying union jobs and invests in our communities,” Kennebrew added.
GE workers are united in their support for the long-term success of General Electric. As the foundation of the company, workers see all aspects and the direction that GE is headed. General Electric has the opportunity to reinvest in American manufacturing. The US is in need of domestic renewable energy production and GE has the workforce, facilities, and technology to build the necessary infrastructure a renewable electric grid would need.
This vision for GE has been backed up by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer who recently secured $29 million to make the Port of Albany a wind manufacturing hub. This would allow companies such as GE to manufacture renewable energy materials in New York state.
GE Schenectady workers weren’t the only workers present at the stakeholders meeting. Will Evans of Bucyrus, Ohio spoke about the threatened closure of his GE Lighting plant, which would put hundreds out of work. “Now GE is announcing it is splitting up, putting even more American jobs in jeopardy. I am here to fight alongside GE workers. GE should reinvest in its workers, not keep splitting itself up till there is nothing left of this company.”
Evans’ experience was all too familiar to Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. “Decades of bad trade and tax policy have sent good-paying union jobs in communities like Bucyrus and Logan overseas. We need to make more in America. IUE-CWA workers are ready to carry on our proud manufacturing heritage.”
“GE needs someone on the Board that cares about the products, knows what it takes to make them, and is invested in the long-term success of the company,” said IUE-CWA Local 81201 Retiree Alex Brown of Massachusetts. “A worker director would have interests more aligned with long-term shareholders over a director whose career has been focused on short-term value.”
General Electric has received millions of American taxpayer dollars, but now, GE’s corporate board is focused on splitting the company up instead of reinvesting that money in good-paying union jobs for American workers. At this critical turning point for the company, it’s more important than ever for workers to have a say and gain a seat on GE’s Board of Directors to ensure the voices of workers, their families, and communities are being heard.
With the GE stakeholder meeting, this message was delivered loud and clear to the company, and GE workers will continue to speak out to demand action from the company to revinest in American manufacturing and protect these good union jobs.