U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is calling on GE Transportation’s incoming chief executive, Russell Stokes, to protect jobs in Erie.
After GE announced its plan to move 950 jobs to a plant in Texas, Casey’s office said he pushed to protect jobs in the region.
With GE already issuing 500 layoff notices, Casey said in a letter to Stokes to examine the Erie plant’s highly skilled workforce and work to save jobs.
“The workforce in Erie has manufactured world-class locomotives for decades and GE has benefitted significantly from Erie’s skilled workforce,” Casey said in a statement.
“I am calling on GE’s new leadership to take this into account as it makes additional decisions on jobs,” Casey said. “With new leadership, GE Transportation should reconsider maintaining 450 jobs in Erie and recommit to northwestern Pennsylvania.”
Here is the full text of Casey’s letter:
Dear Mr. Stokes,
“As you begin your new role as CEO of GE Transportation, I want to take the opportunity to highlight how vital the workforce of northwestern Pennsylvania is to the success of your company.
“The workforce in Erie has manufactured world-class locomotives for decades in the region and has directly contributed to making GE Transportation so competitive in the industry. The locomotives produced in Erie and the engines produced in Grove City are expertly manufactured by dedicated employees.
“As you can expect, I was extremely disappointed when GE Transportation announced its intention to transfer 950 union jobs and 100 corporate positions out of Erie to its new facility in Texas this past spring. During the negotiations between GE Transportation and UE 506, I was engaged in active dialogue with both labor and the company in an effort to aid a resolution that would have protected jobs. Ultimately, no agreement was reached.
“Just a few weeks ago, I was in Erie when GE Transportation issued notices to 500 of the 950 employees informing them that their layoffs will go into effect in early November. The impact of these layoffs is tremendous—not only on the hard working men and women themselves, but on their spouses, children, and communities.
“During the next few months as you assess GE’s revenue and contracts in the fourth quarter, I urge you to do everything practicable to avoid putting the remaining 450 potential layoffs into effect. I stand ready to assist you in this effort and am committed to working with you to maintain a vibrant workforce in northwestern Pennsylvania.”
– John Guerriero