GE workers gather to protest, want more green jobs in offshore wind
GE’s Haliade-X offshore wind prototype. Picture credit: GE Renewable Energy
Workers employed by General Electric Co (NYSE:GE) will be gathering today in New York to protest against job cuts and a lack of pay boost amid inflation, and to demand that the conglomerate focuses on the creation of green energy jobs in offshore wind.
GE employees from plants in Massachusetts, New York, Kansas and Kentucky, as well as maintenance crews from all over the country, intend to march together to the GE factory in Schenectady. They will be led by the largest union for GE employees across the country, namely IUE-CWA, which is getting ready to hold negotiations with the company ahead of the expiration of union contracts in the summer of 2023.
Among other demands, protesters are urging GE to invest at least USD 5 billion (EUR 5.07bn) over the next five years and add thousands of jobs to existing and recently shuttered US sites rather than “wasting USD 5 billion on stock buybacks and its own break up,” according to a media release.
As unveiled a year ago, GE plans to separate itself into three independent public companies focused on aviation, healthcare and energy. The protesting workers want GE to allow shareholders to vote on the spin-offs and to add elected worker representatives to the company’s board of directors.
At the same time, they are pushing for GE to convert historic facilities into advanced factories and establish a domestic offshore wind power supply chain, including in Schenectady.
In early October, Reuters reported that GE is getting ready to lay off 20% of its onshore wind workforce.
“GE’s USD-2.5-billion breakup is taking the company in the wrong direction. GE must stop taking orders from Wall Street and start investing in the American workers who built this company in the first place. Regardless of whether GE is one company or three, we are demanding it put the industrial future of America first. GE must invest USD 5 billion over the next five years in American manufacturing and build offshore wind in states like New York and Massachusetts where skilled union workers are ready to power the green economy of the future,” commented IUE-CWA National President Carl Kennebrew.
Earlier today, GE reported its financial performance for the third quarter of 2022 along with plans to restructure its renewable energy division which is now seen to bring about USD 2 billion in losses for the full year.