GE employees 'shocked' to hear their plant in Rochester is closing

August 09, 2017 07:13 PM

Some workers at a General Electric plant in Rochester said they were shocked when they were told that plant is closing. That news came Tuesday. It's the manufacturing end of the plant that is shutting down. GE says the jobs are moving to China.

Wednesday, News10NBC talked to employees and added up the number of layoffs our community has seen in the last 12 months. 

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"I feel saddened for the people who have been here for several years," said Christina Roncone.

Roncone is going to be added to the list of layoffs. She is one of about 100 employees at the GE Microwave Data Systems plant near the U of R's College Town losing their job.

Christina has two children, ages five and two.

Brean: What happens to you now? 

Roncone: I myself will continue to look in the manufacturing field and hope for the best. 

Brean: Do you think there's jobs out there for you?

Roncone: Oh yeah. Yes I believe there is.

The employees found out when they got called to a meeting Tuesday.

"It's kind of hard for me to see things going away," said Steve Nichols, an 30 years engineer at GE. He says his job is safe.

GE says the manufacturing jobs are going to a GE partner in Florida and that company is moving the jobs to China.

"That I don't particularly care for," Nichols said.

Here is part of the statement from General Electric:

"The manufacturing work currently performed in Rochester will transition to one of GE's partner suppliers. The assembly of the electronic boards at this facility is not core to GE's manufacturing capabilities and GE contracts 80 percent of these products to external partner suppliers already. Transferring work is always a tough decision, but we are committed to supporting our employees during this time of transition.

"This decision will impact fewer than 100 employees and the work will be going to one of GE's partner suppliers. GE is not transferring the work to a different GE plant."

Wednesday, I worked through the dozens of layoff notices filed with the New York State Department of Labor. Going back to August 2016, I counted 1,329 layoffs in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region. Of those 1.329 jobs, only 11 of them were union jobs.

On the other hand, I asked the state Department of Labor how many new private sector jobs were added over that same time. The answer based on a spread sheet the Department of Labor uses and provided to News10NBC is 1,700.

It's not much, but it's still a net positive.

"I wish everybody the best," Christina Roncone said. "And I'm saddened for everyone here."

The New York State Department of Labor says GE has not filed a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice with the state. State law says they must do it 90 days before the first layoff.


Berkeley Brean

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