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Union Says GE Will Phase Out Gas Turbine Division in Schenectady

July 11, 1986

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) _ General Electric Co. will phase out its gas turbine division here over the next 2 1/2 years, costing 850 blue-collar workers their jobs, a union official said today.

Joseph Valenti, business agent for Local 301 of the International Union of Electrical Workers, said GE executives intend to consolidate the gas turbine division in Greenville, S.C. The Greenville positions are non-union ones, Valenti said.

GE will continue to produce steam turbines in Schenectady, he said.

Valenti also revealed that executives told him GE will cut 1,000 white- collar jobs by the end of this year. According to the union official, 700 of those workers will lose their jobs in Schenectady.

Valenti said GE officials blamed the sluggish gas turbine market for the lastest round of job cuts.

The turbine operation builds steam and gas turbines used by power companies and large industry, but the demand for huge machines has been poor domestically, and the company faces fierce competition for foreign markets, GE spokesman Fred Haas said in June.

GE officials were not commenting this morning on the reports.

Earlier this year, GE announced it would eliminate about 1,500 jobs in Schenectady in 1986. The cuts revealed today by Valenti are in addition to those earlier announced job eliminations.

When the jobs cuts are completed by the end of 1988, the GE workforce in Schenectady will stand at about half of the 29,000 workers employed here in 1974.

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