Tuesday, May 31, 2011

General Electric(GE) and the United Electrical Workers(UE) Return to the Table

If you ever want to see the difference between the way a corporation thinks, and the way a union thinks, look no further than the ongoing negotiations between GE and UE.  This was made very evident in the opening statements, where GE brought the same old song and dance about how rough they have it, and how workers must "share the burden" when there are losses.  Of course, now that GE has rebounded from the financial crisis, they are unwilling to "share the profit" with their workers.  This point was not lost on UE President John Hovis, who stated, 

"Certainly the company has “rebounded strongly” from the financial crisis, said Hovis and is therefore “in a position to address positively the issues that concern our members.” He noted GE’s 2010 gross profit of $14.2 billion last year, ranking it sixth among the Fortune 500. “Just last month,” Hovis added, in reporting first quarter results, “Mr. Immelt reported $82 billion of cash on the company’s balance sheet, the third dividend increase to stockholders in the past year, and a record backlog of orders going forward.”

It is this fundamental difference in worldview that debunks the myth that unions have somehow outlived their relevance.  As long as companies rely on their workers to turn a profit and refuse to share the spoils, there will always be a need for workers to form unions to get their fair share.

More on these negotiations to come...

In Solidarity,


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