Union will offer cost-cutting ideas to avert GE plant closing
A union leader representing 179 workers at the General Electric Ohio Lamp Plant will “keep our fingers crossed” and “do what we can do” over the next 60 days to try to avert the announced closing of the plant in early 2014.
Scott Moore, president of the union that represents 179 workers at the General Electric Ohio Lamp Plant on North Park Avenue, says the union will “keep our fingers crossed” and “do what we can do” over the next 60 days to try to avert the announced closing of the plant in early 2014.
The company issued an intent-to-close notice Thursday for the plant, which employs about 200 people, 179 of them members of Moore’s IUE-CWA Local 722.
During 60 days of talks between the company and the union starting Monday, IUE-CWA will attempt to offer a way to make a lighting product at a competitive cost.
The plant currently makes incandescent light bulbs, which Congress has banned with the exception of specialty products.
Warren is one of the few plants in the country still making incandescent bulbs, the only plant in the country making them exclusively, Moore said.
The union knew late last year that GE was thinking of closing the plant, but it didn’t expect Thursday’s announcement to occur this soon, Moore said.
The announcement said the planned closure is due, in large part, to “rapidly declining volume at the facility” as customers shift from halogen and incandescent bulbs to more energy- efficient products.
Moore said the company considers the Ohio Lamp plant to be difficult to retool because of its multiple floors, but the union hopes to present ideas for cost reductions to encourage GE to provide the site with another product.
Among them are ways to reduce labor costs, he said.
Of the 179 IUE-CWA workers at the plant, 95 are eligible for retirement.
Others would be eligible for retraining or priority hiring at other GE plants.
The intent-to-close notice means the plant will close in the first quarter of 2014, roughly one year from Thursday, unless other work can be found for the plant, Moore said.