GE and Union officials came together for the first time since the company announced its plan to shut down the Fort Edward plant. Erin Moran has more on day one of negotiations.
FORT EDWARD, N.Y. -- Negotiations began Thursday between General Electric and United Electrical Local Union 332, as nearly 200 jobs are on the line after GE announced last week its intention to close the Fort Edward plant.
“This is their livelihood. We're in the fight of our life and it's emotional and tough,” said Scott Gates, President of Local 332.
Thursday's meeting was described by union leaders as preliminary.
“It was a very brief meeting and we submitted an information request to the company asking the company to provide us with information about its plans to transfer all the work,” said Gene Elk, an international representative for United Electrical.
But a preliminary description didn't mean emotions weren't running high.
“We provided them with a statement blasting the company for its announcement on the plant closure last week, demanding that the company keep the plant open,” said Elk.
That statement was not released to the media Thursday, allowing union officials to meet with all members directly about the day’s negotiations.
In a statement to YNN, General Electric-Albany Communications Manager Christine Horne said, “We’ve started our bargaining in good faith. We take this process very seriously and look forward to productive discussions.”
Union leaders said while Thursday's meeting was the first step in the right direction, the fight was only just beginning and there are no plans to back down any time soon.
“We're trying to build as much public support as we can. We figure that this plant generates at least $30 million between income of our members and the spin-off affects in the community. It's imperative to keep the plant open,” said Elk.
“We've got hope. We're positive and we're going to fight this company and try to save Fort Edward. That's our goal, anything less is not acceptable,” said Gates.
The next meeting between GE and UE Local 332 is scheduled for next week.