General Electric shuts down Rochester plant, plans to shift base to China

Published Date : 11 Aug 2017


Global energy and software development giant, General Electric, has declared its plans to close down its plant on Science Parkway in Rochester, New York. As per what the sources have revealed so far, General Electric aims to shift the Rochester plant operations to China. The announcement has come in just a few days post the energy company’s multiyear agreement (MYA) that deems it to provide repair and maintenance services to Ling Ao, Ling Dong, and Daya Bay.

According to the details released by company executives, the Boston-based multinational conglomerate intends to shut down the plant by the end of June 2017. For the uninitiated, workers at this plant primarily assemble electronic boards for myriad GE products. This manufacturing facility had been operating in Rochester, New York, for more than two decades (since 1985) until General Electric officially took over the plant in 2007. Now, nearly a decade later, the company has planned to cease the operations at its home ground and transfer the plant operations to China. As per the firm’s representatives, the company has taken this decision with an aim to provide their customers with an efficient, competitive service and product portfolio.

The impact of Rochester plant shut-down on employees

As per reliable sources, as far as employee jobs are concerned, General Electric has stated that fewer than 100 employees may be potentially harmed by the plant shutting down. The plant essentially employs around 145 workers, 90 to 100 of whom will be laid off, in all probability. However, around 45 to 50 of the workers employed in the technology and sales departments will continue to work at the site, which will be shifted in a building beside the plant location. The company’s top executives have categorically stated that the employees who would possibly lose their jobs will be provided the said tuition reimbursement as well as severance pay. The employees were notified promptly once the decision for closure was finalized.

General Electric shifting base to China

As per an official statement released by the geothermal energy market giant, the work conducted at the Rochester plant (assembling electronic boards) is a part of the operations that the company generally outsources. To elaborate, this assembling of electronic boards conducted at Rochester is actually not a part of the core operations with reference to GE’s manufacturing abilities. The firm, in fact, signs periodic contracts to get these operations done, for more than 80% of its product range. In accordance with this factor, GE has decided to outsource this work to China.

It is noteworthy to mention that the work is not being transferred to another GE plant, but is being contracted to a partner supplier of GE – Jabil, headquartered in Florida. The plant base is thus being shifted to Jabil’s China facility.

GE’s officials have stated that while facility transfer is always a tough call for the company, it is an essential step to be taken, keeping in mind, the productivity and consumer requirements. Also, the statement mentions that GE has always, and will continue to keep employee welfare on the top of its priority list. However, the New York State Department of Labor has mentioned that the company has not yet filed a ‘Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN)’, which, as per the state law, has to be filed 90 days prior to the first layoff. In the event that the aforementioned statement is deemed true, GE may face obstacles in shutting down the plant at Rochester and commencing its operations in China.

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