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General Electric Co. (GE) Proposal To Be Voted On By Union

Union workers at General Electric Co. (GE)’s Appliance Park in Louisville will vote Wednesday on a company proposal to replace 183 established workers with the same number of workers at a lower wage.

Workers at the appliance plant, members of the IUE-CWA, Local 761, will be offered an early retirement package if they are age 55 or older, said Kim Freeman, director of public relations for Louisville-based GE Consumer and Industrial.

The 183 jobs that are targeted to be eliminated pay an average of $23.84 per hour with benefits. They would be replaced by 183 jobs that pay an average of $14.19 per hour, Freeman said. The proposed move would save GE, which lost $24 million at Appliance Park in 2007, nearly $14 million a year, Freeman said.

Union president Tommy Spires was in a meeting and could not immediately be reached for comment Monday morning. The early retirements will be offered to workers throughout Appliance Park, but are being made in order for GE to continue to operate an appliance warehouse at the plant, Freeman said. GE officials previously announced they were considering outsourcing the warehouse operations if they couldn’t eliminate enough costs at Appliance Park.

If workers vote to eliminate the 183 established positions, GE will continue to perform warehousing work at Appliance Park. If the union workers vote down the GE proposal, GE will continue to consider outsourcing the work or sell the warehousing operations, Freeman said. The fate of the entire Appliance Park operations remain in flux after the company announced last month that it would spin off or seek a buyer or a joint venture partner for GE’s appliance business.

Freeman said company officials still are exploring options, and a decision is expected to be announced by the end of the year.

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