By Zarifa Huq
General Electric (GE) and the International Union of Electric Workers - Communications Workers of America (IUE-CWA), its largest union, are coming back to the negotiation table with hopes of settling a new labor contract.
Last month, both the Schenectady and Lynn GE plants rejected the proposed agreement marking the first time the union has rejected a national contract with the company since 1969. With plans for a strike in place starting August 12th, the pressure to find a solution is once again on GE.
The offer, the result of 3 weeks of negotiations, has GE’s utmost confidence to succeed. The offer includes wage increases of $180 per hour, 2 cash payments of $3,000 and a ratification bonus of $1,500. This would give an additional $10,450 in cash compensation to union members over the length of the 4-year contract. The union's main issues now are the increase in healthcare premiums and a lack of cost of living increase. It remains to be seen how GE will answer to these demands. The influence of the IUE-CWA cannot be understated especially as a strike would result in even more a financial blow to GE’s already struggling aviation business.
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