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Union Workers Negotiating With GE After Layoffs Announcement

GE is laying off 160 employees. Officials say it is because of a 30 percent decline in demand for side-by-side refrigerators.

GE appliances and the union representing its workers continue to negotiate layoff plans ten days after GE announced it would eliminate 160 positions from the Bloomington plant.

Negotiations began the day after the layoffs were announced and Carven Thomas, president of the Bloomington IBEW, says the two groups have been meeting on and off since.

Thomas says he wants GE to offer workers a transition out of the company through retirement plans. He estimates if 130 employees were eligible for the retirement plan, only about 30 people would suffer from the layoffs.

“We’re not disappointed here because GE didn’t invest in our product alone, we’re just as disappointed they didn’t invest in us,” Thomas says.

GE had planned to make improvements to its Bloomington factory and manufacture energy efficient refrigerators. The union says the company never followed through.  For its part GE says demand for the dual side refrigerators has fallen by thirty percent.

GE declined to comment for this story.

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