Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

General Dynamics plants have many workers on lay-off

10.11.15

JUNE 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

General Dynamics plants have many workers on lay-off

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- June 2nd- The two General Dynamics operated plants in Northeastern Pennsylvania are operating with a unprecedented low number of employees.

The company operates the General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems plant on Cedar Avenue in South Scranton employs only a handful of workers, approximately 35 unionized, after the company laid-off twenty-nine additional workers in February. That followed the fifty-six workers that were laid-off in December 2014.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union Local Lodge 847 represents the non-management hourly employees of the company. The plant, which mostly produced military projectiles for the United States Department of Defense including the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy, for a short time had no active Department of Defense work and survived by commercial contracts.

In 2012 the IAM represented approximately 236 workers at the plant.

The company several years ago began bidding on other work out-side of projectiles and was able to also begin the production of elbows for the natural gas industry. The current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the IAM and the company expires on October 17th, 2015.

During the Vietnam War in the 1960’s the plant employed more than 600 workers, with the plant operating three shifts a day to keep-up with demand.

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded the plant to produce new projectiles shells for the Navy earlier this year. The plant is expected to produce between 4,800 to 5,000 shells a month, which will result in some workers being recalled.

Meanwhile, the General Dynamics Land System plant on East Street in Eynon has only a hand-full of workers currently employed.

The United Auto Workers of America (UAW) Union Local 1193 represents the hourly workers at the plant. The plant refurbishes, rebuilds and heat treats parts for military ground combat vehicles, mainly the Army’s main battle tank.

Ken Klinkel, President of Local 1193, stated that around 70 workers are employed at the plant, with around 156 workers on lay-off. In 2010 the plant employed around 300 workers. Mr. Klinkel stated that General Dynamics wants to do everything they can to keep the plant opened, while waiting for more work to return to the facility.

Under the CBA between the parties, union members could be recalled from being laid-off for more than a decade.