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Unfortunate vote, sad result

Published: Sun, April 14, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Unfortunate vote, sad result

Trying to find a light bulb made in the USA at a big-box store is like trying to find a needle in a haystack — or an American-made baseball, bicycle, television set or pair of Levis just about anywhere.

And so it is disheartening to see the failure of efforts to save the General Electric Ohio Lamp Plant in Warren — the last vestige of what was once a huge GE manufacturing presence in the Mahoning Valley.

The company held out a lifeline to nearly 200 employees at the plant, offering a contract that would have preserved their jobs. It also would have meant that a line of energy-efficient halogen bulbs for commercial customers would be stamped “Made in America” at the Warren plant.

But a majority of the 179 members of Local 722 of the International Union of Electrical Workers-Communication Workers of America rejected the proposal.

A significant factor in the rejection was that about 95 of the union members were eligible for retirement benefits and severance pay if the plant closed. They voted for early retirement, leaving younger workers and their families who needed their jobs to fend for themselves.

One can’t help but wonder what union pioneers such as John L. Lewis, Samuel Gompers and A. Philip Randolph would have thought of a union vote that placed a higher premium on I got mine than on solidarity.

Perhaps that’s just as much a reflection of the nation today as is the disappearance of the phrase made in America.


1ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Union hypocrites! Its all about solidarity and "my brothers and sisters", until it really matters, and then it is "screw you!"

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2NoBS(2829 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Do we know what was in GE's proposal? No, we don't. So why are all the union-haters so sure this is "the union's" fault? Oh, that's right, I answered myself.

Bottom line: if GE wants to keep the plant open, they will. If they don't, they won't. Would you rather collect unemployment benefits from your $16/hour job, or your $8/hour job? I'm sure the decision to vote NO wasn't made lightly, but at some point you have to draw the line on givebacks and concessions. And if they were paying minimum wage and no benefits, GE would have still closed the plant in a year or two.

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3redeye1(5664 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

NoBS If the younger people were for it . It couldn't have been that bad. But once again people like you want to blame the company. That is a shame, the company made an offer that seem to benefit all.But the older union people didn't like it WHY? Maybe because they would have to put in an 8 hr day instead of goofing off most of the day like they do now. Thanks the union/

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