Management at the local GE Appliances plant has informed its hourly employees that one third of them will be laid off.
Carven Thomas, President of Local 2249 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers at the Bloomington plant, confirmed this today.
He told us that he wouldn’t be able to provide us with much detail on the layoffs until he had met with his fellow members to discuss the issue.
He did agree to give us some basic information, such as the numbers they were given.
“They’re going to take our numbers down from 496 hourly employees to 360,” Thomas says.
Thomas says the employer cited a thirty percent decline in side-by-side refrigerator production since 2010 as the root cause for these layoffs.
Several years ago, the Daily Local News covered reports about GE’s plans to close its Bloomington plant entirely and move production to Mexico.
The local union and the company negotiated a collective agreement, wherein the company agreed to upgrade the plant, to enable it to make more energy efficient and competitively priced side-by-side refrigerator, in return for pay concessions from the union, thereby retaining and even increasing hourly jobs.
Thomas says GE has turned its back on this agreement.
“They decide they’re not going to make the investment so they’re going to turn that wage freeze,” Thomas says.
The Bloomington GE plant is one of the few remaining consumer goods manufacturing facilities in the region.
Local 2249 members will meet tomorrow afternoon to discuss the employers’ announcement and their response to it.