Local Leaders React to Failed GE Negotiations - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Local Leaders React to Failed GE Negotiations

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Since GE and UE Local 506 continue to grapple over terms moving forward, we wanted to know what local leaders make of the unsettled outcome, as jobs still threaten to leave Erie.

The lack of an agreement between the two by the deadline, Saturday at midnight, elicited a similar response from local elected officials concerned by the prospect of job loss in our city.

"Well of course it's disappointing," said County Executive Barry Grossman. "I'd hoped that something would have come out of this."

In a statement sent to our newsroom Senator Sean Wiley said, "The news that the bargaining window has expired without an agreement is terribly disappointing. It is unfortunate that after this lengthy negotiation period, UE Local 506 and GE transportation could not come to a compromise that might have saved hundreds of jobs, and avoided hardship for individuals and families."

Senator Bob Casey has also penned his concern in a recent letter to both GE and UE Local 506, he stated, "If more time is needed... I urge you to extend the negotiation period further."

Casey also brought the issue all the way to Washington D.C., asking the White House to help "mitigate job losses."

Grossman said despite the setback, he's encouraged by the next meeting now planned for Monday, to discuss how to move forward.

"So even though the 60 days have run and there's been no official extension, it doesn't look like the two walked away from the table like 'we're not gonna talk at all anymore,'" he said.

He hopes this gives both sides a chance to regroup.

"I think everybody needs to take a breath right now. I think both sides want to do that after what happened, they know each others bottom line and lets see if something occurs now, because they haven't really had a chance to talk among themselves," said Grossman.

Wiley isn't giving up hope either. In his statement he said that he and other officials were "prepared to do whatever was necessary to marshal state and federal resources to keep the jobs here in Erie County."

As post- deadline negotiations progress, Grossman has an idea of what he'd consider a good deal.

"I want to see at the end of the day both people get up, reach an agreement, shake hands and walk away from the table both a little unhappy. That to me is the best negotiation," he said. "Nobody wins everything, everybody's given a little bit, and for our community that would be the best result."

We'll continue to bring you the latest on a possible deal between GE and UE Local 506 as we speak with our sources.

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