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Labor rally planned at GE

LYNN – General Electric Co. union workers today plan to stage a lunchtime rally in front of the River Works plant on Western Avenue to protest the company’s plans to eliminate traditional pensions for new hires.Aliza Levine, organizer at the North Shore Labor Council, said the workers and retirees will rally near the gates at 1000 Western Ave.”The workers will be asking GE to pay a decent pension to current retirees ? and they will be protesting GE’s announced plan to eliminate their traditional pension plan completely for all new hires,” she said, referring to GE union negotiations for a new contract, which get under way May 23.According to Levine, “GE has not had to contribute a single cent to its pension plan since 1987, yet it has remained fully funded. Health care costs for pensioners have increased dramatically.”Salem native Jack Welch, former GE chief executive officer, lives on a monthly pension of $800,000 while some GE retirees are forced to manage on $800 a month, Levine said.Additionally, the rally will focus on the fact that GE made $14 billion in profit last year, yet paid zero in federal income taxes and will receive a $3.2 billion tax cut in the coming year, Levine said.Most of those scheduled to participate in the rally between 11:30 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. are IUE-CWA Local 201 members and Local 201 Retirees Council members and their families.

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