Union rejects contract for GE plant in Warren

Staff report


Union officials are expected to meet with General Electric representatives today after union members at the Ohio Lamp Plant turned down a proposed contract Monday.

“We’re going to meet and find out where we go from here,” said Scott Moore, president of International Union of Electrical Workers-Communications Workers of America Local 722, which represents employees at the plant.

“It’s really out of our hands right now,” Moore said.

The contract proposal could have kept open the plant, which the company has said would close next January.

Moore did not provide the details of the contract or the exact voting numbers. However, he said Monday night’s vote was “very close,” with nearly 100 percent of its 178 members voting, which took place all day Monday ending about 6 p.m.

Last week, Local 722 put forward a series of cost-cutting measures and other ideas that GE found appealing, which led to a tentative agreement.

The tentative agreement came more than 60 days after negotiations began between General Electric Co. and the union at the Ohio Lamp Plant on North Park Avenue.

A large part of the plan, though, is a shift in what the plant manufactures. The facility primarily serves industrial and commercial customers looking to cut their electricity bills. Over the years, energy-efficient bulbs have become a means to do so, but the plant does not produce them.

Since GE first announced its intent to close the facility in January, some members of Ohio’s congressional delegation stepped up their efforts to keep the doors open.

In May, RG Steel announced it would lay off more than 1,200 workers at its Warren facility, only one month before declaring bankruptcy and selling the mill, putting a major dent in the city’s workforce.

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