General Electric says they're negotiating with union employees at their Fort Edward plant and if those talks fall through within the next 60 days, close to 200 people will be out of a job. YNN's Erin Moran spoke with employees who have worked at the plant for decades to find out what GE's move from Fort Edward to Clearwater, Florida would mean to them and the community.
FORT EDWARD, N.Y. -- “I feel extremely betrayed,” said Bruce Ostrander, a 20 year employee at the General Electric manufacturing plant in Fort Edward.
“I was floored,” said Sonny Gooden, a 30 year employee at GE in Fort Edward.
“My kids got off the bus and said, 'How was work dad?' And you say okay, but you don't tell them the truth because they're kids. You don't want to ruin their day. You don't say daddy lost his job,” said Roger Harrington, an eight year employee of the GE plant in Fort Edward.
A shocking announcement from General Electric could leave 200 people without a job by next year.
In a released statement on Wednesday, GE said in part, "Today we are announcing our intent to move all manufacturing operations from Fort Edward, New York to a newly created manufacturing Center of Excellence at our GE Energy Management manufacturing site in Clearwater, Florida, and to close the Fort Edward manufacturing facility."
The UE Local 332 represents the majority of workers who would be affected.
“This is devastating. I mean, this is our livelihood. It's 177 families. How do you fix that?” asked Scott Gates, President of UE Local 332.
By contract, GE and the UE have 60 days to negotiate and GE said no final decision has been made. But officials say the potential loss of 200 jobs would be disastrous for Fort Edward.
“It does have an impact on the community. In other words, many of the businesses who were the recipients of some of their salaries, you know, money that's spent in the community, they will be struggling to continue to function,” said Peter Aust, President of the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“It's a good paying mill and we go out and we spend good paying dollars. Every day, every week, we're out there spending our paycheck in the community and that's not going to be here,” said Ostrander.
For now, union members said they will take negotiations very seriously. And while some said they’re holding on to hope, others said it's slight at best.
“They did tell us it wasn't written in stone, but I don't know how much of that I believe. Like I said, I've been around almost 30 years and every time something's not written in stone, it's written in stone,” said Gooden.
“I have a lot of hope that it [negotiations] will be successful. But I mean, we know what reality is. The rule of thumb is when a company the size of GE makes an announcement like that, they don't usually back out,” said Gates.