Biz Buzz
By Jim Martin, Doug Oathout Erie Times-News staff bloggers
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Posts tagged ‘GE Transportation’
Posted: December 10th, 2013

Scott Duke, president of Local 506 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America at GE Transportation, said he met only once and for about 15 minutes with Lorenzo Simonelli, the company’s previous chief executive.

Duke, who spoke with Simonelli after protesting outside GE Transportation’s headquarters in Chicago, said he met today with Simonelli’s replacement under more favorable conditions.

Duke said he and Mike Hayes, chief union steward, spoke with Chief Executive Russell Stokes for about 45 minutes inside the company’s offices in Building 14 at the Lawrence Park plant.

Duke said he’s looking forward to a good working relationship with Stokes.

“He also said he wanted to reach out to us again,” Duke said.

While Simonelli served for more than five years with GE Transportation, he held the top post for only six months after Duke was named union president in April.

 – Jim Martin

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 19th, 2013

Union workers at GE Transportation plan to rally Saturday in honor of workers facing layoff at the Lawrence Park plant and another 200 workers expected to lose their jobs at a GE plant in Fort Edward, N.Y.

Saturday’s rally, to be held outside the company’s Water Street gate, is scheduled for 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Local 506 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, which is sponsoring the rally, is urging local unions, families, friends and local businesses to attend.

“It’s going to be a rally for Fort Edward and the outgoing people who are hitting the street (in Erie),” said Scott Duke, president of Local 506.

The employment rolls at GE Transportation’s Lawrence Park plant are expected to fall by about 500 by the end of this year through a combination of about 50 retirements and about 450 layoffs.

Meanwhile, the General Electric Co., parent company of GE Transportation, announced in September that it would close a plant in Fort Edward, about 45 miles north of Albany.

Members of UE Local 322 at the company’s electrical capacitor plant proposed a plan hat would have trimmed 10 percent of the workforce and sought more than $20 million in public funding to upgrade the plant.

The company, which plans to move that work to Florida, rejected that plan.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 18th, 2013

Lorenzo Simonelli, who has led GE Transportation since July 2008, has been named president of and chief executive of GE Oil and Gas.

He will be replaced by 42-year-old Russell Stokes, a 16-year GE veteran, who worked most recently as vice president of global services at GE Transportation. Before that, he was general manager for GE Aviation’s Global Sourcing Organization.

Simonelli, 40, has overseen a period of dramatic change, highlighted by moving the company’s headquarters from Erie to Chicago.

Stokes was named a company officer in 2012.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 4th, 2013

Scott Duke, president of UE Local 506, is set to meet at noon with officials at GE Transportation to discuss a forthcoming Worker Adjustment and Training Notification, more commonly known as a W.A.R.N. notice.

Such notices are required when a company plans to announce a large-scale layoff of 50 people or more.

Duke had said previously that he hoped this day could be avoided, stressing that orders for new equipment might prompt the company to step back from its original plan, announced in April, to layoff about 950 hourly workers at the Erie plant.

The company has since said layoffs would likely begin in October and be phased in over the next 24 months.

It’s not yet known how many jobs will be cut in this first round as the company moves work to its plant in Fort Worth, Texas and to other locations.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 3rd, 2013

GE Transportation continues to say only that its plans to lay off 950 union employees could begin as early as October and will take place over the next two years.

But details are likely to come Wednesday in the form of a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, often called a W.A.R.N. notice, according to a source familiar with the company’s plans.

Such notices, which are required to be filed in advance of large-scale layoffs, typically announce the number of job cuts and a timetable for when they will take place.

As of about 2 p.m. today, Scott Duke, president of Local 506 of the the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, said he was holding out hope that new product orders might prompt the company to delay or cancel its layoff plans.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 16th, 2013

The wounds of Sept. 11 were still fresh in October 2001, when International Paper announced that it would close its Erie plant, eliminating 760 jobs.

In those desperate, early days it seemed like Erie might never recover.

And it never has — not if manufacturing jobs are the measure of our success.

At the time of International Paper’s announcement, 30,100 people worked in manufacturing in Erie. Today, nearly 12 years later, that number has fallen to 22,700.

That’s where we find ourselves today as GE Transportation, Erie County’s largest employer, prepares to move ahead with plans to eliminate 1,050 jobs at its Erie plant.

Questions swirl around those numbers. Will the layoffs proceed as planned and what will that mean to the Erie economy? And perhaps most importantly, when and how will Erie recover?

For more coverage, turn to Sunday’s Erie Times-News and

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 19th, 2013

GE Transportation, Erie County’s largest employer, continued to pull its weight in the second quarter of this year, posting a profit of $313 million, up 11 percent from the second quarter of 2012.

Results from the quarter that ended June 30 mark a continuation of strong profits in the first quarter. According to numbers reported this morning as part of the General Electric Co.’s overall earnings report, GE Transportation earned a profit of $580 million through the first six months of 2013.

That’s 13 percent of last year’s record-setting pace.

“Wow, said Scott Duke, president of Local 506 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, which last month wrapped up more than two months of unsuccessful bargaining with the company over a plan to eliminate 950 union jobs at the Erie plant.

The union and the company were unable to reach an agreement over cost-cutting plans that would have kept more than 400 of those jobs in Erie in exchange for a wage freeze and establishing a two-tier wage system for new employees.

Duke said this morning that the company’s record profits weaken its argument that cost-cutting measures are needed.

“It’s frustrating,” he said.

Duke said he continues to hope that rising orders will prompt the company to rethink its plan.

“I am glad they are making money and hoping that orders are going to pick up,” he said.

While profits were strong, revenues for the quarter were up just slightly, climbing 2 percent to $1.59 billion.

Meanwhile, GE Transportation’s parent company, Connecticut-based General Electric, saw net earnings climb 1 percent to $3.1 billion.

GE Transportation is often regarded as a tiny piece of a much larger company, but during the second quarter it accounted for fully 10 percent of General Electric’s quarterly profit

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 27th, 2013

GE Transportation will supply engines, computer controls and traction control systems for 13 new locomotives ordered by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

The $70 million contract for the passenger locomotives has been awarded to Motive Power, a unit of Wabtec Corp., which has contracted with GE Transportation in the past to provide key components for passenger locomotives. The new units will meet the most recent Tier-3 emissions standards.

According to a statement by Wabtec, the GE components are being provided by plants in Erie and Grove City. GE Transportation’s financial share of the contract was not disclosed.

Lorenzo Simonelli, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement that, “These high-performance locomotives will provide the reliability that commuters demand, while being more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly.”

The order, which follows a previous contract for 27 locomotives, comes at a good time for G4 Transportation, which now has its headquarters in Chicago. Orders have been down in recent months.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 26th, 2013

The decision appears to be final.

Four days after negotiations ended Saturday between GE Transportation and Local 506 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, the company confirmed this morning that it will move ahead with plans to transfer a large amount of work from the Erie plant to the company’s new facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

The company and the union negotiated for more than two months over proposals that would have reduced the company’s plans to lay off 950 union workers in Erie. Those talks ended at midnight Saturday without an agreement.

Lorenzo Simonelli, the company’s chief executive, announced in an e-mail to employees that after considering its options the company would move forward.

Simonelli’s e-mail read in part:

“We have considered the subjects discussed during bargaining, and looked closely at what is best for our long term competitive position. We have decided to move forward with our proposed transfer of locomotive and OHV production to GE’s Manufacturing Solutions facility in Fort Worth, Texas and take corresponding job actions in Erie, beginning in October.”

He concluded by saying, “We recognize this will be difficult for our friends, colleagues and neighbors. However, Erie will continue to be an integral location for GE Transportation, and we are taking this important step to ensure the company is stronger, more competitive and can meet the growing challenges of our global economy.”

For more coverage, turn to Thursday’s Erie Times-News and

— Jim Martin

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 22nd, 2013

Negotiations between GE Transportation and its unionized employees in Erie are now in their final hour, barring any unexpected extensions.

This process was triggered April 9 when the company announced plans to cut 950 union jobs at its Erie plant, citing concerns about lower orders and productivity levels at the Erie plant.

By contract, the union has a 60-day window to bargain with the company and to propose ways to reduce the number of cuts.

That window, already extended by two weeks, expires at midnight.

And with less than an hour ago, the two sides continue to exchange proposals and counterproposals.

In its most recent proposal, issued early this evening, GE Transportation said it would reduce its request for a three-year wage freeze, enhance early retirement opportunities and make a significant investment in the Erie plant.

The union has made at least two counteroffers during the final few hours of bargaining.

Check back to for more updates.

Posted in: Uncategorized

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