You probably recall with a bit of a bad taste in your mouth that the hard fought shut-down of the Export Import Bank was unceremoniously overturned in the House at the end of October when a large number of Republicans suddenly decided to switch sides and play for the other team. Among the various reasons cited for these defections were threats by some large employers like General Electric. We were assured that if the bank wasn’t restored posthaste, massive numbers of jobs would be at risk. This was the case in Pennsylvania where the GE Transportation operation in Erie was seen to totter on the brink of collapse. (Go Erie)
Officials at GE Transportation say the end of the Ex-Im Bank could exact a substantial toll — amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars — on GE and especially its Erie plant. The bank provides low-interest financing for foreign governments and companies that buy U.S. exports. Few companies have benefitted more from financing than GE Transportation, with $720 million worth of locomotives to foreign buyers that were financed by Ex-Im Bank in 2014.
More recently, the company booked a $350 million order to provide 100 locomotives — all built in Erie — to the African nation of Angola.
If Ex-Im Bank goes away, so does that contract and the work that it will provide for employees in Erie, said Tina Donikowski, vice president of global locomotives for the company.
With that many jobs on the line, Pennsylvania Republicans Mike Kelly and Glenn Thompson voted for Ex-Im reauthorization specifically citing the threat of a “substantial toll” on the facility. But now that the bank is apparently going to be back in business, crisis resolved, eh? Whew! We really dodged a bullet on that one. If Thompson hadn’t taken quick action, there could have been hundreds and hundreds of Pennsylvania workers out on the unemployment line and …
What’s that? You say General Electric is going to lay off 1,500 people anyway?
Erie’s largest employer is cutting a third of it’s workforce, this confirmed today out of Lawrence Park.
The layoffs are not a surprise after the company indicated they would issue a warn act, but the number of jobs is higher than anyone expected.
The announcement today that GE is laying off 1500 employees.
1,500 jobs, eh? That’s a full third of the workforce. Glad we’re getting you those Ex-Im bank subsidies or we’d have been in real trouble I bet if we’d been hit with a “substantial toll.” Congratulations to the GOP members who caved on this issue. You’ve clearly done a great service in preserving the American dream.