GE’s Penn­syl­va­nia plant to cut 575 jobs

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

Gen­eral Elec­tric Co., un­der pres­sure from an ac­tivist in­vestor to cut costs, plans to end most lo­co­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing at a cen­tury-old Penn­syl­va­nia fac­tory dur­ing a sharp down­turn in the do­mes­tic rail mar­ket.

As many as 575 jobs would be elim­i­nated from the Erie plant through 2018 as GE shifts pro­duc­tion for in­ter­na­tional cus­tomers to a lower-cost fa­cil­ity in Fort Worth, said the head of the com­pany’s trans­porta­tion busi­ness. Work­ers in Penn­syl­va­nia were told Thurs­day morn­ing of the pro­posal, which is sub­ject to a 60-day bar­gain­ing pe­riod with union of­fi­cials.

“We’ve been op­er­at­ing in a chal­lenged North Amer­i­can lo­co­mo­tive mar­ket,” Jamie Miller, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of GE Trans­porta­tion, said in a tele­phone in­ter­view. “This ac­tion is taken so we can be as com­pet­i­tive as we can be.”

Trim­ming costs is a pri­or­ity across GE as it looks to strengthen op­er­a­tions af­ter sev­eral quar­ters of weak earn­ings and a slump­ing stock price. The Bos­ton-based man­u­fac­turer agreed ear­lier this year to deeper cost cuts through next year af­ter dis­cus­sions with share­holder Trian Fund Man­age­ment, the com­pany co-founded by Nel­son Peltz.

About 2,000 jobs will re­main in Erie, which is still the largest GE Trans­porta­tion site, Miller said. While some com­po­nent man­u­fac­tur­ing will stay, the fa­cil­ity will be fo­cused pri­mar­ily on de­sign, engi­neer­ing and pro­to­typ­ing. No jobs are mov­ing over­seas, she said.

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