Active, retired union workers protested outside of Schenectady General Electric

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Dozens of current and former General Electric employees held a protest Thursday afternoon in Schenectady.

Union members said retirees are being burdened with changes to their medical benefits leading to higher health care costs and failing to take cost of living into consideration for their pensions.

In response, GE sent the following statement:

“While the GE Pension plan does not have a cost-of-living or other provision for benefit increases, GE has made ten voluntary pension improvements since 1980, including an increase in December 2015.”

Protestors said GE is one of the most profitable companies in the world, and it’s taking away from the same people who built the company with their blood, sweat and tears.

Bob Bombard worked for GE for more than 30 years. Now, he’s the president of the Retiree Council. He said he receives calls and e-mails on a daily basis from upset retirees.

“This is from one of our members: ‘My wife had cancer…She used to pay $65 for 90-day supply [of medication that keeps her in remission]. Now it’s $1,745.45 for 30-day supply,’” he read.

Not only are the changes hurting them financially, but they said they choosing a new insurance company is not something they should have to be worried about in their 90s.

“These ladies, although they’re pretty sharp for their age, one guy told me he was on the phone for eight hours to get this straightened out,” Pittsfield resident Peter Menard said.

Those women were out protesting on Thursday to honor their late husbands who recently passed away but worked for GE for over 30 years during World War II.

“To fight for the rights of the people that are still there,” Pauline Moon, of Pittsfield, said. “Our retirees, naturally, but to the younger generation, too.”

GE sent the following statement in response to the protest:

“Our healthcare program provides post-65 retirees with access to a quality private exchange, cost saving options, and more choice in coverage. The change is consistent with trends among other large companies.”

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