179 workers to lose their jobs when GE plant closes in 2014

Staff report


The 179 union workers at the General Electric Ohio Lamp Plant will be out of a job next January or thereafter, the president of its union said Friday.

“The ‘no’ vote pretty much did it,” Scott Moore, president of Local 722 of the IUE-CWA, said late Friday.

Moore had a meeting with company officials Friday afternoon at which they said talks were through and the plant is closing.

Moore said he has not scheduled a meeting with the union membership because they already know the news, and “they know what it means. They voted for it.”

The plant will close no sooner than next January by the terms of the contract, Moore said.

The workers voted down a proposal Monday that would have kept the plant open and shifted its work from its present production of incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient halogen bulbs, a popular draw for commercial customers looking to reduce their energy costs. The proposal also included some wage concessions.

Citing declining sales volume, the company had issued an intent-to-close notice in January for the plant, which employs about 200 people.

“Ultimately we had two months of decision bargaining to try and find cost-saving alternatives,” said Christopher Augustine, a GE spokesman. “We tentatively agreed to the proposal and, unfortunately because it wasn’t ratified by the union, we weren’t able to move forward with an agreement to keep the plant open.”

Augustine said he didn’t know if the union had requested further bargaining. He added that after final discussions and a few meetings this week with union leadership, the company made the decision to close the plant.

About 95 of the 179 union members were eligible for both retirement benefits and severance pay under the terms of the plant’s closing, a fact both union leadership and company officials said likely factored into the union’s vote against the proposal.

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