Guide to the General Electric Company Records

Collection Number: 5331

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library

Contact Information:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives
Martin P. Catherwood Library
227 Ives Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-3183> kheel_center@cornell.edu
http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/library/kheel-center
Compiled by:
Kheel Staff, November 06, 2012
EAD encoding:
Kheel Staff, March 30, 2015

© 2015 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
General Electric Company Records, 1964
Collection Number:
5331
Creator:
General Electric Company
Quantity:
2 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Transcripts, reports, press releases, news clippings.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
U.S. NLRB decision on General Electric and International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers 1960 Contract Negotiations.
Language:
Collection material in English


ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

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.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

U.S. NLRB decision on General Electric and International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers 1960 Contract Negotiations.
Included are transcripts of the proceedings before the trial examiner and the board; materials detailing the prosecution of the case; the company's defense; and a General Electric information kit.

SUBJECTS

Names:
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.

Subjects:
Arbitration, Industrial -- United States.
Electric industry workers -- United States.
Electric industry workers -- Labor unions -- United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Records


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
General Electric Company Records #5331. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
/3017: Abraham Cohen "Coordinated Bargaining at General Electric: An Analysis" Dissertation Supporting Documentation
5886: GE "Leaders Discussion Guide to HOBSO"
6081 mf: GE (Schenectady, NY) Publication "Works News" on Microfilm

SERIES LIST

Series I: Company's defense
Series II: General Electric information kit

CONTAINER LIST

Date
Description
Container
The General Counsel's Brief to the Trial Examiner
Box 1 Folder 1
321 pp.
Appendices to the General Counsel's Brief to the trial examiner
Box 1 Folder 2
87 pp.
General Counsel's Reply Brief to the Trial Examiner
Box 1 Folder 3
52 pp.
Intermediate Report (decision of the trial examiner)
Box 1 Folder 4
113 pp. 4 copies
General Counsel's Brief in Support of Exceptions and in Support of the Intermediate Report
Box 1 Folder 5
49 pp.
Decision and Order of the National Labor Relations Board
Box 1 Folder 6
11 pp. 4 copies
Press release of the NLRB announcing the decision
Box 1 Folder 7
8 pp.
Respondent's Brief for Trial Examiner: Part I.
Box 1 Folder 8
217 pp.
Respondent's Brief for Trial examiner: Part 11.
Box 1 Folder 9
100 pp.
Respondent's Reply Brief for Trial Examiner
Box 1 Folder 10
87 pp. 2 copies
Respondent's Exceptions to the Intermediate Report
Box 1 Folder 11
78 pp. 2 copies
Respondent's Brief in Support of its exceptions to the Intermediate Report
Box 1 Folder 12
24 pp.
General Electric's press release
Box 1 Folder 13
Issued on December 16 at Press Conference in Washington and New York
Background summary and evaluation of NLRB decision.
Box 1 Folder 14
Editorial comment in New York press and other Newspapers.
Box 1 Folder 15
1964
ER News story
Box 1 Folder 16
Dated December 21, 1964.
Sample employee communication following announcement of the NLRB decision.
Box 1 Folder 17
1964
Background materials covering events leading up to NLRB decision announced on December 16, 1964.
Box 1 Folder 18