GE Pride - Generations Await Decision on Jobs - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

GE Pride - Generations Await Decision on Jobs

Posted: Updated:

The end of "decision bargaining" talks between GE Transportation and its union workers is just about a month away. Employees are holding their breath for the outcome and hoping to minimize the blow of the company's stated plan to move 1,000 jobs and shift the production of the Evolution series locomotive and mining equipment to Fort Worth Texas. 

It's not just the current work force waiting to hear the outcome of the talks.  Thousands of Erie people who built their lives and careers while designing and building GE locomotives, parts and other products are waiting too.  You might call them GE's greatest generation and they are concerned about the company.

"I'd hoped when I heard about the Texas plant initially that this was going to be a way of balancing the volume of work, that there'd be enough of an increase of volume of this type of manufacturing that we would need a second facility," said Don Adams, a GE retiree with 42 years of service at the plant. 

Like many generations of local GE employees, Adams got his start with the company through the GE apprentice program.  He moved from machining to drafting, to design drafting and into management at the company, earning a couple of patents along the way.  "I was an apprentice on the low end of the totem pole, worked my way up through a management position and now I'm a stockholder in the company and I've been in the union so I have kind of the whole picture over time," said Adams. 

Adams' father, an engineer at GE, was involved in starting the apprentice program at the plant. Don Adams not only was trained in the apprentice program, he went on to teach drafting in it.  And he taught other young employees through the company's night school.  One of his students, Ken Berlin went on to become foreman of final assembly at the plant and then manager of light fabrication, the division that made the exterior of the locomotives.  "I started on the apprentice program, finished GE night school, took advantage of their college program," said Berlin. At that time if you wanted to go to college and got your grades, they'd pay 100% of your technical courses." Berlin received his college degree from Gannon, with General Electric paying for his tuition.

According to Berlin, GE workers heard talk about jobs going to Texas for years, but didn't take it seriously.  "There used to be a sign down in that area, future home of the GE locomotive that people used to come back and show, the billboard that they used to have in the '70's and '80's, we used to just laugh about it, but uh, it's serious now."

Berlin has a son and granddaughter working at the Erie GE plant now, he's concerned about the future of the company he helped to build.  "It's very sad when you see the top management leave Erie...before top management was kind of homegrown, now they're in Chicago, so they don't have the same commitment, I believe," said Berlin.

Lawrence Park is watching closely too.  Historian Marge McLean knows better than most people that General Electric literally built the town for its employees to live in. "GE founded Lawrence Park, it was their plan to build a community for their workers that would essentially be a garden community, where they would have a boulevard, green space to separate the company from the town."  But McLean says Lawrence Park's connection to the community is shrinking.  At one time 18,000 people worked at GE, that number has dwindled to 5,000 over the decades. According to township estimates, only 5% of the people who live in Lawrence Park work at the company.

Adams hopes the company weighs very heavily the value of the human element in its decisions. "The families that have worked at the company, these skills kind of pass on from generation to generation, the work ethic passes on and the pride in this company, the pride in making a good product, there's just no price tag that you can put on that."

(Don Adams is the father of Reporter/Anchor Lisa Adams.  Lisa worked packing parts at a GE warehouse one summer in the 1970's when she was college student.)

Submit your event now
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Still Possible for Conneaut Lake Park

    Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Still Possible for Conneaut Lake Park

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-08-19 15:50:55 GMT
    Chapter 11 bankruptcy is still an option for Conneaut Lake Park. Park trustees met with officials from the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County this morning, with bankruptcy as one of their options.More >>
    Chapter 11 bankruptcy is still an option for Conneaut Lake Park. Park trustees met with officials from the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County this morning, with bankruptcy as one of their options. More >>
  • Bicycle Accident Renews Safety Concerns Near Presque Isle

    Bicycle Accident Renews Safety Concerns Near Presque Isle

    Monday, August 18 2014 5:50 PM EDT2014-08-18 21:50:22 GMT
    There are renewed calls for safety on Peninsula Drive near the entrance of Presque Isle State Park. A bicyclist was hit by a vehicle yesterday afternoon.More >>
    There are renewed calls for safety on Peninsula Drive near the entrance of Presque Isle State Park. A bicyclist was hit by a vehicle yesterday afternoon. More >>
  • Waterford Traffic Roundabout Scheduled to Open Wednesday

    Waterford Traffic Roundabout Scheduled to Open Wednesday

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:43 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:43:45 GMT
    The first traffic roundabout in Northwestern Pennsylvania is scheduled to open to traffic on Wednesday. The roundabout, or traffic circle, is located at the intersection of Routes 19 and 97, just south of Waterford.More >>
    The first traffic roundabout in Northwestern Pennsylvania is scheduled to open to traffic on Wednesday. The roundabout, or traffic circle, is located at the intersection of Routes 19 and 97, just south of Waterford.More >>
  • Body of Missing Kayaker found in Clear Lake

    Body of Missing Kayaker found in Clear Lake

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:38 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:38:44 GMT
    An evening of fishing took a terrible turn when a 51-year old man disappeared, Monday night.More >>
    An evening of fishing took a terrible turn when a 51-year old man disappeared, Monday night.More >>
  • UPDATE: University Confirms Suspect In Amish Kidnapping Attended Mercyhurst University

    UPDATE: University Confirms Suspect In Amish Kidnapping Attended Mercyhurst University

    Monday, August 18 2014 4:55 PM EDT2014-08-18 20:55:05 GMT
    WICU WSEE confirmed that one of the two suspects charged with kidnapping two Amish girls in New York state, is a former Mercyhurst University student, who majored in psychology.39-year-old Stephen Howells and 25-year-old Nicole Vaisey, face charges of first degree kidnapping.We uncovered that Vaisey is a former Mercyhurst psychology major, and some of her research covered the subjects of rape and viewing sexually suggestive images.Monday, Mercyhurst University confirmed she was a student.Pol...More >>
    WICU WSEE confirmed that one of the two suspects charged with kidnapping two Amish girls in New York state, is a former Mercyhurst University student, who majored in psychology.39-year-old Stephen Howells and 25-year-old Nicole Vaisey, face charges of first degree kidnapping.We uncovered that Vaisey is a former Mercyhurst psychology major, and some of her research covered the subjects of rape and viewing sexually suggestive images.Monday, Mercyhurst University confirmed she was a student.Pol...More >>
  • Bicyclist Hit on Presque Isle

    Bicyclist Hit on Presque Isle

    Monday, August 18 2014 12:38 AM EDT2014-08-18 04:38:12 GMT
    A bicyclist is hospitalized in critical condition after he was hit by a van on Presque Isle State Park Sunday afternoon. According to Millcreek police, the accident happened at about 4:10 PM as the 64-year-old man was riding his bike south bound on Peninsula Drive just north of Sara's restaurant.Investigators say that a Ford passenger van hit the bicyclist from behind. He suffered serious injuries. The driver and passengers in the van were not hurt. Millcreek police, paramedics and West Lake ...More >>
    A bicyclist is hospitalized in critical condition after he was hit by a van on Presque Isle State Park Sunday afternoon. According to Millcreek police, the accident happened at about 4:10 PM as the 64-year-old man was riding his bike south bound on Peninsula Drive just north of Sara's restaurant.Investigators say that a Ford passenger van hit the bicyclist from behind. He suffered serious injuries. The driver and passengers in the van were not hurt. Millcreek police, paramedics and West Lake ...More >>
  • Local Researcher Has Close Ties To Ebola Stricken West Africa

    Local Researcher Has Close Ties To Ebola Stricken West Africa

    Monday, August 18 2014 11:55 PM EDT2014-08-19 03:55:43 GMT
     The enemy, Ebola, a contagious virus claiming more than 1100 lives in West Africa over the course of just weeks. It's nearly impossible to rebound as the virus attacks your internal organs.More >>
     The enemy, Ebola, a contagious virus claiming more than 1100 lives in West Africa over the course of just weeks. It's nearly impossible to rebound as the virus attacks your internal organs. More >>
  • Driver Trapped in Woods

    Driver Trapped in Woods

    Monday, August 18 2014 12:17 AM EDT2014-08-18 04:17:11 GMT
    Millcreek police believe it was a medical problem that sent a car off the road and into the woods. The accident happened about 7:00 PM Sunday. A small car ran off the road in the 5500 block of Sterrettania Road in Millcreek. Police say the vehicle hit a dirt ramp, rolled over, went airborne and traveled about 36 yards into a wooded area. The car was heavily damaged. The driver was trapped inside for a short time. Rescuers transported him to the hospital. Police believe he may have suffered a ...More >>
    Millcreek police believe it was a medical problem that sent a car off the road and into the woods. The accident happened about 7:00 PM Sunday. A small car ran off the road in the 5500 block of Sterrettania Road in Millcreek. Police say the vehicle hit a dirt ramp, rolled over, went airborne and traveled about 36 yards into a wooded area. The car was heavily damaged. The driver was trapped inside for a short time. Rescuers transported him to the hospital. Police believe he may have suffered a ...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
3514 State St. Erie, PA 16508
Newsroom: (814)454-8812
Toll Free: 1(800)454-8812
Business offices: (814)454-5201
WICU FCC Filing
WSEE FCC Filing
Share:
Share Stories
Submit your stories to our site!
Share Photos
Share your photos in our community galleries
Mobile:
Mobile Site
Be sure to stay constantly updated with the power of WICU12 and WSEE at your fingertips
Free Android App
Free iPhone App
Free iPad App
Storm Tracker App
Droid
iPhone
iPad
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WICU. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
                   WICU/WSEE - 3514 State Street Erie, PA 16508 - (814) 454-5201 - info@wicu12.com