FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – General Electric is planning to shut down what’s left of its Fort Wayne facility after more than 100 years in our city. But union workers say they’re not surprised by the move.
NewsChannel 15 spoke with a retired Fort Wayne G.E. worker who said officials have been talking about a shutdown since the 70s. That paired with the gradual cut of employees over the last 10 years led many to believe the company would pull the plug soon.
“Unfortunately over a 100 years history they had about 10,000 employees, and now that you’re down to nine you’ve seen things dwindle over the last 10 years,” IUE-CWA Local 901 President Brent Eastom said.
Although G.E. plans to shut down the Fort Wayne facility doesn’t come as a surprise, employees still have unanswered questions.
“It was more just of just an ‘Okay, now what?'”
Currently there are only about 90 workers. 28 of those people work at the local motor testing lab. The rest are at General Electric’s executive center on Coliseum Boulevard.
The news comes after some attempts of reaching contracts with union works. G.E. officials said things don’t have to end like this. They’re still willing to make a compromise.
“If they request decision bargaining period, then we will enter into a good faith negotiating bargaining where we will review any and all proposals that they may have before we make a final decision,” Fort Wayne G.E. Facility General Manager Pat Morello said.
General Manager of the Fort Wayne G.E. facility Pat Morello said the company needs to stay competitive. He said it’s about more than just cutting costs.
“It’s part of our strategy to realign and consolidate assets. By doing so, the proposed actions enable the business to be more responsive and proactive with our customers and to have that better integration with our global supply chain.”
For the time being, IUE-CWA Local 901 is focused on making sure workers get fair severance packages.
“It’s just a matter of working to make sure they can continue on with their families and either retire or go to another location,” Eastom said.
If G.E. decides to shut down the Fort Wayne facility, employees would have a year to relocate or find a new job.