BUCYRUS — Eighty-one employees at the GE Lighting plant, 1250 Walnut Street in Bucyrus, could lose their jobs, depending on the outcome of negotiations between the union and the company.
East Cleveland-based GE Lighting plans to cease production of its A-19 LED light bulb line at the Bucyrus plant in March, which could adversely affect the 81 members of IUE-CWA, Local 84704 who work there. GE officials notified the affected workers on Jan. 6 that it plans to shut down that line.
GE sold sold its GE Lighting division in East Cleveland last May to Savant Systems Inc., a smart home technology company based in Hyannis, Massachusetts.
Will Evans, president of IUE-CWA Local 84704, released a statement regarding the situation on Monday.
“We were completely blindsided by this news that Savant intends to send this line overseas to China,” Evans stated. “We have over 200 workers who are proud to clock in at this factory every day. They are taking care of their families and some of them have worked their whole career at this plant. We are going to do everything we can to fight for our jobs, and we are asking the Mayor Jeff Reser and others to join us in the fight to keep this plant alive.”
Representatives of Local 84704 and GE are scheduled to meet for negotiations on Thursday.
GE issued a WARN letter to state and local officials regarding its decision. Per terms of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), companies are required to file WARN letters with the state when they anticipate making a mass layoff.
On Jan. 6, Tibor Voros, chief human resources officer of GE Lighting, issued a letter to Bucyrus Mayor Jeff Reser and state officials in which he stated that employees at the plant were being advised of the potential layoffs. The letter reads as follows:
“This letter serves as written notice per the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, 29 U.S.C. 2101 et seq. and Ohio Rev. Code 4141.28(C) (collectively “WARN”) that Savant Systems, Inc. (“Savant”) employees working at the GE Lighting, a Savant company Bucyrus Lamp Plant located at 1250 South Walnut Street, Bucyrus, Ohio 44820 (“Lighting”) were advised today of Lighting’s intent to cease operation of its LED A-19 line. Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the IUE-CWA and Savant, should the union request, a thirty (30) day decision bargaining period may commence after notification. If decision bargaining is not successful, LED A-19 operations will cease on or about March 6, (2021) and Savant will permanently layoff 81 full-time employees as of that date.
“All impacted employees are represented by IUE-CWA. Some of the employees subject to this notification are entitled to exercise bumping rights under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“Notification has been provided to Will Evans, President, IUE-CWA Local 704, in person and Carl Kennebrew, President, IUE-CWA.”
According to GE officials, the Bucyrus plant is one of the last remaining light bulb manufacturers in the nation. Company officials said they don’t plan to cease production of the A-19 LED bulbs altogether, but will transfer production out of Bucyrus depending on the outcome of negotiations with the union.
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