Lawmakers request GE Aviation rescind January transfer of work announcement to offload jobs to other facilities
Washington (February 9, 2022) –Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-06) today sent a letter to General Electric (GE) Aviation urging the company to invest in workers, preserve jobs at its Lynn manufacturing plant, and abandon plans to outsource work from its Lynn facilities. The lawmakers’ letter follows a January 2022 transfer of work announcement delivered to IUE-CWA Local 201 that proposes to offload positions from the Lynn site over the next 18 months to other facilities, including those overseas. The lawmakers’ letter outlines the compelling strategic, economic, and moral imperative to double down on American manufacturing of critical defense infrastructure.
“Lynn workers have led the way in innovative manufacturing for our country since General Electric’s inception. Now, as GE Aviation charts its path forward on its own, we implore you to make an investment in these workers. It is a commitment that they have earned and one that is in the strategic and economic interests of our nation,” Markey, Moulton, and Warren wrote in a letter to GE Aviation President and CEO John Slattery.
In their letter, Markey, Moulton, and Warren urged GE Aviation to make three major commitments:
1) Return offshored work on the T-700 engine back to Lynn and build the T-901 engine in the U.S.;
2) Establish more “brilliant factories” stateside and substantially invest in the Lynn facility; and
3) Invest in the American workforce to make American products.
“As a first step and a sign of good faith, we ask that GE immediately rescind the transfer of work announcement delivered to IUE-CWA Local 201 on Friday, January 14, 2022, and preserve in Lynn the positions that GE proposes to offload over the next 18 months to other facilities, including those overseas. Doing so would not only keep work in Lynn, but also demonstrate a commitment by GE to keep manufacturing in the United States and invest in the future of the American workforce,” Markey, Moulton, and Warren wrote.
Full text of the letter is below.
Mr. John Slattery
President and CEO
1 Neumann Way
Cincinnati, OH 45215
Dear Mr. Slattery,
For over a century, America has invested in the future of General Electric (GE). Now, as GE navigates the company’s division into separate aviation, healthcare and energy businesses, it is time for GE Aviation to carefully consider how best to invest in the future of America. GE stated that this transition will result in “greater focus, tailored capital allocation, and strategic flexibility to drive long-term growth and value for customers, investors, and employees.” We believe that there is a compelling strategic, economic and moral imperative, as part of this transition, to double down on American manufacturing of critical defense infrastructure.
GE has always been able to rely on a highly skilled American manufacturing workforce. In 1941, the U.S. Army Air Corps selected GE’s plant in Lynn, Massachusetts to build America’s first jet engine. Six months later, GE Lynn succeeded in producing the General Electric I-A, the first working jet engine ever manufactured in the United States. Today, GE’s American workforce manufactures some of the most advanced military and commercial jet engines in the world. This includes the combat-tested T-700 engine, which is used in Blackhawk, Chinook, Super Hornet helicopters, as well as the sophisticated CF34 engine used in Boeing and Bombardier commercial aircraft.
We have consistently supported GE Aviation’s efforts to compete for, and ultimately secure, the U.S. Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) contract. This resulted in $315 million in new investments for GE Aviation this year alone and over $1 billion since the inception of ITEP. A key recommendation of the bipartisan 2020 Future of Defense Task Force Report is that the United States must “re-establish its domestic manufacturing and supply chain capability, which is both an economic driver and a national security imperative.” The report goes on to state that “a lack of domestic manufacturing capability and access to reliable supply chains is among our greatest national security and economic vulnerabilities.”
Accordingly, we ask that GE Aviation make three commitments going forward:
Build the T-901 in the United States and return T-700 work to Lynn that has been sent abroad.
Infrastructure that is critical to our national defense should not be vulnerable to private sector supply chain disruptions or strategic political interference. Understandably, GE Aviation often commits to completing the work for foreign countries in those countries. The same should be the case with fulfilling obligations to the U.S. government. Despite this, we understand that T-700 work for the U.S. military is currently being done in Romania and Korea. This work should be brought back to the United States wherever possible, and GE Aviation should make a public commitment, backed by a clear plan, to building the new T-901 engines in the United States.
Establish more “Brilliant Factories” stateside.
GE's Lynn, Massachusetts facility deserves to become a “brilliant factory” with substantial investment from GE Aviation. Our understanding is GE Aviation has committed to invest around $30 million at the Lynn facility. While this is a promising start, GE is investing over $200 million to create brilliant factories in other locations. Lynn has a storied history, skilled workforce, a well-established training pipeline, space on-site, and links to freight networks and large markets that would make it a sound investment for GE Aviation.
Invest in an American workforce to make American products.
The American manufacturing workforce is rapidly aging, with many GE Aviation workers reaching retirement age in the next few years. At the same time, GE Aviation is seeking waivers from the Buy American Act to meet existing contract obligations. In order to meet the contract obligations for the T-700 and T-901 engines, GE must move aggressively to hire and train American workers to do this work. In Lynn, however, our understanding is that although GE has committed to hiring 75-100 salaried positions, it has presented no clear training or hiring strategy for bargaining unit direct and indirect labor positions. Recent investment by the GE Foundation and Commonwealth of Massachusetts has established a strong foundation; however, a robust plan to scale up programs like this is needed to ensure that current and future obligations to the U.S. government can be met with a highly-skilled American workforce.
As a first step and a sign of good faith, we ask that GE immediately rescind the transfer of work announcement delivered to IUE-CWA Local 201 on Friday, January 14, 2022, and preserve in Lynn the positions that GE proposes to offload over the next 18 months to other facilities, including those overseas. Doing so would not only keep work in Lynn, but also demonstrate a commitment by GE to keep manufacturing in the United States and invest in the future of the American workforce.
Lynn workers have led the way in innovative manufacturing for our country since General Electric’s inception. Now, as GE Aviation charts its path forward on its own, we implore you to make an investment in these workers. It is a commitment that they have earned and one that is in the strategic and economic interests of our nation.