NLRB COMPLAINT TAKES GE TO TASK

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The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint against General Electric Co. for the firm's actions related to a defeated union organizing drive in December. Workers at GE Plastics' Wash-ington, Pa., plant voted down a United Electrical, Radio & Ma-chine Workers of America organizing drive in an NLRB-conducted election Dec. 7-8. The NLRB complaint on Aug. 20 accused GE management of ``interfering with, restraining and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights'' under labor law, according to an Aug. 27 news release from UE.

GE Plastics spokeswoman Karen Hern said her firm does not be-lieve its communications to workers were improper or illegal. She said in an interview from the Washington plant that GE ``is re-viewing our options'' and had not decided yet whether to appeal the NLRB complaint. It has 14 days to respond to the complaint.

One charge in the NLRB complaint was that then-plant manager Hugh Morton threatened employees with layoffs if they joined the union. Among other charges was that Morton falsely accused union supporters of violence and vandalism.

A UE unionization drive in 1992 also was defeated. Following that drive the NLRB charged that GE engaged in similar illegal tactics. Last year GE was judged guilty on some of the NLRB charges. GE appealed that decision but the Washington Labor Board upheld the decision on July 10. GE is appealing the latest decision.

GE Plastics recently said it will cut about 300 jobs of the 800 at the Washington plant as it phases out ABS compounding there. It hopes to achieve the cutback through retirement and normal attrition.

UE organizer Al Hart complained in UE's news release that GE did not reveal the cutbacks when it fought the unionization drive and told employees they would get job security by staying nonunion.

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