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News :: Labor
IUE-CWA Local 201 members ratify agreement with GE
27 Oct 2005
Union members ratified a new agreement that that will upgrade nearly 300 jobs and help bring new work to Lynn’s River Works.
Lynn, MA – Union members ratified a new agreement that creates new opportunities for workers in GE’s Assembly and Test departments to upgrade their skills and improve their pay. The agreement was approved by a 79 percent majority vote at meetings held on October 25 and 26.

When GE seeks to make major changes in the production process that effect skills, pay or working conditions, it must negotiate those changes with the affected union members. In this case, GE sought to combine several existing job classifications – rotor assembly, balance, general assembly, test, and inspection – with the Advanced Aircraft Engine Mechanic position.

As a result of negotiations with the union, members gained new training opportunities on company time and a higher rate of pay for the five groups. The agreement protects members’ seniority and bumping rights. It also makes it easier for union members from other parts of the plant to gain access to these higher paid positions in the future.

The agreement also rewards members with higher pay when they are helping the company with special training, and establishes a “Training Review Committee” to monitor any problems that arise. Four elected union stewards will serve on the committee.

“This agreement won the support of our members because it will bring more jobs to the River Works, especially commercial aircraft engine upgrades and development work,” said union business agent and chief negotiator Ric Casilli. “During five months of hard bargaining, the company knew that Local 201 members were solidly behind our negotiating committee so that these changes would be good for them.”

“This process of negotiation – while at times contentious and difficult – is the best feature of democracy at work. It means workers have a seat at the table and a real voice in their future. That’s good for our members and good for the company. And good for our community too,” said Jeff Crosby, president of IUE-CWA Local 201. “After carefully reviewing the details of the agreement, the overwhelming vote shows that our members believe it is in their best interests.”

The Local 201 Stewards Council reviewed the proposed changes and voted to unanimously recommend the tentative agreement on October 21. The membership directly affected by the agreement met and voted 155 to 50 to approve the agreement on October 25. The rest of the Local 201 membership met on October 26 and voted overwhelmingly to accept the agreement.

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