Biz Buzz
By Jim Martin, Doug Oathout Erie Times-News staff bloggers
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Posted: April 10th, 2013
Erie’s 950 lost GE jobs will result in 160 new jobs in Texas

Erie’s loss figures to be Fort Worth’s gain — but the loss of 950 jobs at GE Transportation in Erie won’t produce a like-sized gain for the company’s Texas plant.

In fact, according to a story in today’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the company expects to add only about 160 jobs at its new facility in Fort Worth.

Thanks to more company-friendly work rules and a more efficient building design, the Texas plant is about 20 percent more productive than the Lawrence Park plant, said Lorenzo Simonelli, the company’s chief executive.

Even with greater efficiency, it’s not immediately apparent why the transfer of AC locomotive production and an additional portion of mining-vehicle wheel production would only add 160 jobs.

In a statement provided to the media, GE Transportation does offer an explanation, noting that some of the work will be moved to other third-party suppliers. Simonelli told the Star-Telegram that about 10 percent of the work being done in Erie will be moved to Mexico and third-party contractors.

There’s another possibilty, of course.

Could the company be leaving itself some wiggle room in case it is able to obtain concessions from union workers in Erie?

That remains a difficult question to answer. But company and its union workers will soon begin a 60-day process called decision bargaining that’s expected to determine the ultimate depth of the job cuts.

— Jim Martin

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