A strike would be the first in three decades against GE.
GE has announced plans to increase co-pays for workers and retirees in its managed care plan, Health Care Preferred, effective January 1, 2003.
The increases would come less than six months before the opening of national negotiations in May 2003, where health care costs are expected to be a major subject of bargaining, following a national trend in recent labor negotiations, union officials said.
GE has indicated that it will make demands for more cost increases during those talks. The company’s stated goal is to shift another 15% of costs onto workers and retirees, according to the union.
In the third quarter 2002, GE had a record net profit of $4.1 billion, which puts the company on track to earn its stated goal of $16 billion in profits.
IUE-CWA represents 50,000 active and retired members at GE. The national agreement expires in June 2003.