Union officials at General Electric's manufacturing division in Salem, Virginia, where the company has made power-generation turbines for decades, said they had received a letter of intent advising them that GE intends to close down its manufacturing at the facility that once employed about 3,500 workers.
The job cuts will not be as devastating as the GE announcement in December 2017, when GE said it would cut 12,000 jobs to adjust to lower demand for new equipment. In the notice to union officials, GE said it would lay off about 40 salaried staff and 221 hourly workers at the plant – about half of the remaining workers on site. The remaining 200 workers at the Salem facility are engineers and they will stay employed, the company said.
Those being let go, however, marks the end of GE manufacturing in Salem. In a statement, Mayor Randy Foley eulogized the turn of events, noting that there was a time “in its heydey” in which everyone in Salem knew someone who worked at the plant.
He also noted, “I think we always knew this was a possibility, especially since GE has been reducing its workforce worldwide in past years.”
“Based on the ongoing challenges in the power industry and a significant decline in orders at this facility, we have announced our intent to close our manufacturing facility in Salem, VA, and move the remaining work to other GE locations or to supplier partners. If requested by the local union, in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, GE will engage in a 60-day decision bargaining period with the union regarding the intended closure,” the company said.GE's line of components for nuclear power plants includes steam turbines, generators, moisture separator reheaters, condensers and shaft line control systems. The company also supplies condensate pumps, heaters, feedwater tanks and feedwater pumps to the industry, as well as central cooling water pumps.
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