© 2015 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
General Electric Company Records, 1964
General Electric Company
2 linear ft.
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Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
U.S. NLRB decision on General Electric and International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers 1960 Contract Negotiations.
Collection material in English
At the time of these negotiations, General Electric Company was the fourth largest industrial corporation in the United States.
It manufactured over 200,000 individual products ranging from toasters to turbines.
Approximately 120,000 of its 250,000 employees were represented by labor organizations. There were no nationally certified
unions or multi-plant units in the company, each union being represented on a plant by plant basis. The company conducted
national bargaining with three of the one hundred odd unions representing it's workers, these being the United Electrical,
Radio and Machine Workers of America, (UE), the Pattern Makers League of North America, and the International Union of
Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, (IUE). The latter union was certified as bargaining agent for approximately 70,000
G.E. employees in 1950 as a result of the expulsion of the UE from the Congress of Industrial Organizations for alleged
communist activities. One year contracts were successfully negotiated between the company and the IUE between 1950 and
1955. In 1955 the parties entered into a five year agreement which included a wage escalator clause and provisions for a
reopening of the contract in 1958 on the question of employment security. The contract terms set forth by the company
in the 1955 agreement were apparently regretted during the period of economic decline that began in 1957. This attitude was
reflected in the hard economic line taken by the company in the 1958 bargaining session, which ended in a stalemate. The
stage was thus set for the 1960 contract negotiations, the company intending to keep costs down while the union hoped to
recoup the losses it suffered in 1958.
THE 1960 NEGOTIATIONS
Preparations for the negotiations commenced at meetings between company and union officials on January 26, April 1 and April
26 at which time the company supplied the union with information and materials deemed vital to the impending
negotiations. It was agreed at these meetings that negotiations of the employment security issue would open on June 13,
approximately two months before the contract date for the opening of formal negotiations. The union presented the full slate
of its demands at the June 13 meeting and requested that full negoitations commence at an earlier date than scheduled.
Formal negotiations between the parties opened on July 19 and continued through 45 meetings, ending on October 22, after a
three week strike. The I.U.E. filed charges against the company before the National Labor Relations Board on September 21,
October 4, October 14, 1960 and March 16, 1961 charging the company with unfair labor practices under sections 8(a) 1,
3 and 5, and sections 2 (6) and (7) of the National Labor Relations Act.
The specific charges against the company under Section 8 (a) (7) (to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise
of the rights guaranteed in Section 7), stemmed from the company's policy of bargaining with local units in
derogation of the union's status as national bargaining agent. Section 8 (a) (5) (to refuse to bargain collectively with
representatives of the employees) was allegedly violated by the company's refusal to supply vacation and pension
information to the union during the course of negotiations. Section 8 (a) (3) (discrimination in regard to hire or tenure
of employment or any term or conditions of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization) was
con- sidered to have been violated when the employer refused to reinstate twenty workers who had been replaced during
the strike. These violations were incurred by the employer as defined under sections 2 (6) and (7) of the N.L.R.A.
On April 1, 1963 N.L.R.B. trial Examiner Arthur Leff issued an intermediate report finding the company guilty of the aforementioned
violations and recommended that the company cease and desist from such further activities. In addition to
specific charges, the examiner criticized the company's overall approach to and conduct of bargaining. In finding such,
he attached the cease and desist order to the bargaining tactics, thereby ruling that the Bulwaristic strategy was not in
the interest of true collective bargaining. The ruling of the trial examiner was upheld by a majority decision of the
NLRB in its decision on December 6, 1964.
United States. National Labor Relations Board.
General Electric Company
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.
International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers.
Arbitration, Industrial -- United States.
Electric industry workers -- United States.
Electric industry workers -- Labor unions -- United States.
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