SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – General Electric announced layoffs will take place at its Schenectady plant.
Last month, General Electric announced it would be cutting 12,000 jobs worldwide. While the company said most of the layoffs would be outside the United States, on Friday, GE announced it would be laying off 130 hourly workers in Schenectady.
“It’s just an awful thing,” Carl Goertz, of Rensselaer, said. “Like I said, GE is a mainstay. It’s like the biggest thing that Schenectady has ever seen or ever going to see again.”
Most agree that what’s happening at General Electric is a shame.
One man NEWS10 ABC spoke with worked for GE for 45 years.
“There’s kind of a general feeling among retirees that we’re lucky we’re out,” he said.
While he has since retired, he was still uncomfortable going on camera to talk about the situation out of fear it would jeopardize his pension.
“You don’t want to irritate somebody who’s got their finger on the trigger.”
He said it’s upsetting to watch a company that had once been an icon for the American economy to continue to shrink.
“When I was first there, 27,000 employees in the area,” he said. “Now about 4,000.”
He was there for the major layoffs in the mid-1980s. He said almost everyone he knew had been laid off or had a job change of some sort.
“You’re always in a state of nervousness; you’re never relaxed down there,” he said. “Business decisions are business decisions, but it’s still tough.”
In a statement, GE cited the challenges in the power industry and a decline in orders:
As announced last month, based on the current challenges in the power industry and a significant decline in orders we plan to reduce our global headcount, affecting both professional and production employees. As part of these actions, we are restructuring our production capacity in Schenectady, NY. This action is difficult and does not reflect the performance, dedication, and hard work of our employees. GE will be providing a comprehensive severance package to impacted employees including transition support to new employment.
Union IUE-CWA Local 301 also released a statement:
It is disheartening that despite our members hard work and dedication, they have to pay such a steep price for GE’s mismanagement while the ones responsible such as Immelt are rewarded with lucrative severance packages. Our main focus right now is on supporting our members affected and continuing our efforts to preserve middle class jobs.
Workers said they’ve been told the individual notices will be handed out sometime next week.