Union Fights GE over Albuquerque Plant Closing

 - September 9, 2009, 11:45 AM

Local 794 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW) in Albuquerque, N.M., is working with state and local leaders to put together an economic incentive package to avoid closure of the GE Aviation facility in the third quarter of next year. Last July GE Aviation informed the local of its intent to close the facility due to lower volume, excess capacity and the need to reduce total operating costs across the business. About 400 employees work at the facility. Gary Allen, IAM&AW general vice president for the western territory, told AIN, “In 2006 we agreed to transfer some high-volume work from Albuquerque to the Terre Haute, Indiana facility and didn’t invoke the bargaining process as a show of good faith. As a result, to sustain the existing workforce, the company had to increase our shop rate and now it is using that against us to justify shutting down the operation.” He told AIN, “GE has refused to be part of the [incentive] process; it’s disheartening.” A spokesman for GE would say only that the company “continues its discussions with the union.” The site makes engine components used in most of the company’s commercial engines.