General Electric factory workers protested Monday while demanding the company start manufacturing ventilators at its idle jet engine factories.
Workers at an aviation factory in Lynn, Mass., as well as union members at GE’s Boston headquarters participated in the protest, according to Motherboard.
GE recently announced it would lay off nearly 2,600 aviation workers and 50% of its maintenance workers in order to save money despite Congress recently passing a multi-trillion dollar corporate bailout that includes nearly $100 billion in relief and assistance for the aviation industry and defense contractors, like General Electric.
Members of the Industrial Division of Communication Workers of America said in a press conference Monday that these layoffs would only slow the eventual production of ventilators.
“If GE trusts us to build, maintain, and test engines which go on a variety of aircraft where millions of lives are at stake, why wouldn’t they trust us to build ventilators?” IUE-CWA Local 86004 President Jake Aguanaga said.
Union members believe that since GE’s Healthcare Division is already a large producer of ventilators, other idle factories could be quickly converted to produce the life-saving devices.
After criticism, President Trump finally invoked the Defense Production Act to address the country’s ventilator shortage by forcing General Motors to begin production and increase supply.
“Ventilators are desperately needed at hospitals in New York, California, Washington State, and Florida. They soon will be in short supply from the East Coast to the West Coast, from Puerto Rico to Hawaii, from Alaska and Illinois to Texas,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “Most Americans are not aware that the best ventilators are already made by General Electric within the company’s healthcare division.”
“Our country depends on these highly skilled workers and now they’re wondering why they are facing layoffs instead of having the opportunity to use their unbelievable skills to help save lives,” said Shelton.
[via NY Daily News]