GE Consumer & Industrial announces plan to transfer, consolidate Oakville Lamp Plant's production to other plants

    Action driven by global overcapacity, reduced volume, changing customer

    OAKVILLE, ON, Aug. 4 /CNW/ - Due to declining sales and volume, global
overcapacity, and changing customer preferences to more energy-efficient types
of light bulbs, GE Consumer & Industrial informed employees at its Oakville
Lamp Plant in Oakville, ON, that the business plans to transfer and
consolidate all of the Oakville plant's production to other internal and
external sources currently being evaluated. Employees at the Oakville plant
manufacture incandescent, fluorescent and halogen light bulbs. The work
transfer will occur in phases through August 2010. There is a separate
warehouse and distribution center in Oakville that is not a part of this
announcement, and it will continue to operate.
    The Oakville plant has 160 hourly production employees, represented by
Local 544 of the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers (CEP) Union, plus 20
salaried employees. Employees affected by this action will be eligible for a
variety of GE benefits, including retirement options - with nearly 40 percent
of employees eligible for retirement. Also available to eligible employees are
severance, tuition reimbursement for education and retraining, re-employment
assistance programs, continuation of many benefits for 12 months, and on-site
counseling through the transition.
    Keith Sapiano, plant manager for the Oakville Lamp Plant, said, "This
type of action is always difficult, particularly because of the human impact.
We know today's environment is tough. That's why we will be doing everything
we can to help employees through retirement options or using GE education
benefits to help people retrain for other jobs."
    Ronald S. Wilson, general manager for GE North America Lighting
Manufacturing, said, "Fundamental changes are taking place in the global
lighting industry. For example, market decline for incandescent types of bulbs
has accelerated with governments around the world setting new standards for
efficiency, and additional standards are being proposed with the potential to
affect further current product offerings. It is imperative that we adapt and
reshape GE's lighting business in the direction of where markets and customer
demand are headed. At the same time, we must also address global overcapacity
based on volume declines and the need to run our operations more efficiently
and cost competitively. It is costly and inefficient to have multiple plants
doing similar production when fewer plants can handle all of the work."
    Sapiano said, "Making this announcement is not easy. The reality is that
all costs related to manufacturing at our plant are growing, and therefore,
negatively affecting the competitiveness of GE's lighting business. As hard as
this decision is, we understand the rationale behind consolidating production
to improve efficiency and competitiveness."

For further information:

For further information: Kim Warburton, (905) 858-5678; Janice Fraser,
(216) 287-2317

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