GE Plant Plans Job Move to China

December 16, 2002
Posted at: 9:35 p.m. CDT
Updated at: 10:07 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark. -- The General Electric Company is moving jobs out of Jonesboro in a move company leaders say is necessary to lower costs and stay competitive in the motors market.

"If this place goes down, I've been in about three good factories in town. They've all gone somewhere else," employee Randy Adams said.

Adams is one of about 215 workers currently working at the GE Industrial Control Systems Plant in Jonesboro. His job, however, may be one of fifty cut in about six months.

"I'll just say it ain't GE's fault," Adams said. "It's the government's fault. For lettin' all their stuff go overseas."

Attempts to make contact with plant officials were not successful. However, they did release a statement about the job changes.

"We are proposing this move," the release read. "Because of the need to lower costs to stay competitive in the motors market. These steps are essential to remain competitve in this market."

Many of the motor production jobs will be moved to China. Some employees will retire, while others may be relocated.

"I just thought it was a shame that jobs are going across to another plant, another town, another country," employee David Howard said.

Union and company leaders have the next 35 days to come to an agreement. Darrel Sexton doesn't think a pact will be reached in favor of keeping all of the workers in Jonesboro.

"We're gonna loose 50 out of this, and approximately 96 they're saying out of Whirlpool, so we will be down to less than a hundred people."

"I'd like to see jobs for years to come for younger kids," Sexton said. "I don't see that happening with all of the plants across that nation leaving, you know, like to go overseas."

"A lot of GE plants are doing the same thing. Getting down to less than a hundred people and jobs headed overseas. Well, I'm 57 years old, so, you know, my future is retirement in the near future.

"It doesn't look good," Sexton added. "We at GE Jonesboro can't do anything."

Regardless of what happens, the employees affected won't leave until at least June 6, 2004.