Tentative GE-Union contract: health care and wages increase

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - At the stroke of midnight June 20, the union contract that represented thousands of workers across the country, many right here in Louisville, expired. Late Sunday night, General Electric issued a press release saying the company has reached a tentative agreement with leaders of two of its largest union, which are IUE-CWA and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE). Negotiations, which lasted four weeks, could result in health care costs going up, but also see wages increasing.

WAVE 3 obtained an internal memo from IUE-CWA President James D. Clark to its members which says in the tentative agreement health care costs could increase.

"IUE-CWA reached a tentative agreement with General Electric that held health care cost increases to 2.5 percent," stated the memo.

Several union members tell WAVE 3 keeping health care costs down is the most important thing to them.

"Just want fair coverage for families," said union member Chris Zurkuhlen.

According to the memo the new contract would give workers cash payments and wage increases.

"I would just like to see GE come back and do something to help us," said union member Tammy Grassi.

The letter goes on to say there will be a voluntary and special early retirement window for 800 hourly workers.

"I would like to retire at 60 which would put me at 3 more years, and this contract will take me into that," said union member Mike Jones.

Towards the end it states simply to members: there are "improvements" made to vacation, sick and personal days, vision and dental plans and disability benefits, but does not elaborate.

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