MILWAUKEE – Members of Machinists Union (IAM) Local 1406 at General Electric Datex-Ohmeda are being impacted by layoffs. Almost 50 employees were laid off in December 2020 and over 90 more on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 due to a decrease in production needs of ventilators and anesthesia machines.

IAM Local 1406, IAM District 10 and GE Datex-Ohmeda negotiated a one-year extension agreement in March 2020 in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The agreement allowed GE salary employees to work alongside production employees for a few months as the company attempted to meet global production needs. Due to the continued need for medical equipment, GE Datex-Ohmeda increased its production employee hiring efforts through 2020.

Richard Knuteson, IAM Shop Committee Chairperson, expressed his gratitude to the union membership and impacted workers for their hard work over the last 10 months.

“The members dedicated long hours and weekends to produce life-saving equipment for individuals around the world during this global pandemic,” said Knuteson.

Alex Hoekstra, Directing Business Representative for IAM District 10 also showed his gratitude and appreciation to Local 1406 and the membership.

“The union worked hard during this pandemic and was quickly able to train their union brothers and sisters in an effort to increase production as quickly as possible,” said Hoekstra. “I hope the company continues to invest in the facility and employees. The hard working members impacted by the layoff deserve to return to a quality job.”

Under the current collective bargaining agreement, laid off employees will retain up to two-year call back rights.

Local 1406’s contract with GE Datex-Ohmeda is set to expire on June 15, 2021.

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