GE, union reach agreement, avoid strike

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - General Electric has reached tentative agreements on new labor contracts with national leaders of its two largest unions, IUE-CWA and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), after four weeks of intense negotiations.

The agreements are subject to review by union negotiating committees and ratification by union members by June 30, 2011.

GE's existing four-year national contracts with IUE-CWA and the UE expired at midnight Monday morning. If an agreement had not been reached, workers would have went on strike.

The four-year job packages provide gains in wages, pension and job and income security. The contract provisions will also be extended to additional unions that have local contracts with GE.

"I congratulate our negotiating committee on working hard to reach an agreement that addresses critical issues for both our union members and the Company," said IUE-CWA President Jim Clark.

"This was a hard-fought negotiations. We've made significant strides from where we started to reach a deal that we can bring back to the members. The contract also offers a special early retirement window for long-service employees, a key issue for our union members," said IUE-CWA GE Conference Board Chairman Bob Santamoor

Clark and Santamoor are recommending acceptance of the tentative agreement to the IUE-CWA negotiating committee and the conference board.

"While the proposal contains important improvements and advances, it also contains certain disappointments. However, given the current economic climate overall it's an agreement we can support," said UE General President John Hovis.

Hovis is recommending acceptance of the tentative agreement to the UE negotiating committee and conference board.

"We have achieved our goal of creating a fair and balanced contract that continues to provide excellent pay and benefits to our employees while allowing GE to remain competitive. The new contract is endorsed by the union leadership and benefits the Company. It proves why GE jobs continue to be among the best in the country," said GE Vice President John Loomis.

The IUE-CWA/GE local union leaders will meet Wednesday to review the tentative agreement and decide whether to submit it for a ratification vote. The UE/GE Conference Board will meet Tuesday to review the contract and on Thursday will make a recommendation to its members. If recommended for approval by union leaders, the ratification votes will be conducted by June 30.

The unions affected by these tentative agreements represent approximately 15,200 GE employees in the U.S. These unions are members of the Coordinated Bargaining Committee (CBC) of GE Unions.

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