Grossman Meets With GE Union Leaders
Erie County Executive Barry Grossman met with union leaders from General Electric on Friday. He promised them he would do all he can to keep jobs at the Lawrence Park plant.
As we reported on Thursday, Grossman is concerned about GE building a new locomotive plant in the State of Texas. Governments in Texas are offering the company at least $5 million in tax incentives to locate there. Grossman says governments here must be prepared to do the same.
Grossman met with three leaders from UE Local 506. The meeting lasted a little over one hour. On Tuesday, he will meet with the CEO of GE Transportation, Lorenzo Simonelli. Grossman says he will ask Simonelli, point blank, what government officials in Pennsylvania can do to keep GE in Erie for another 100 years.
The union leaders did not comment after their meeting with Grossman. They said it would not be appropriate to talk to the media just before national contract negotiations begin.
But Grossman did describe their mood.
"I think they're fearful about what's going on in Texas. They know it's a right to work state. They know that they've ponied up a lot of money, the governments there, to entice General Electric to get there. They know it's close to Mexico. They know it's a cheaper labor market. All those things concern this union," Grossman said.
The proposed plant in Texas, like Erie's current plant, will focus mainly on the construction of locomotives. The Erie plant is just beginning to rebound after laying off hundreds due to the rough economy. Many people are wondering how the new locomotive plant will affect Erie's economy.