February 17, 2022- The small group of men, standing in front of the national headquarters of General Electric Company, in Boston, were raising the issues faced by the rank and file at the GE plant in nearby Lynn, as a result of the company’s plan to break into three publicly-held entities: Aviation, Healthcare and Energy. The protesters noted that the restructuring would result in the loss of 80 jobs at the Lynn plant. GE management says the 80 workers would be given opportunities for other work at the plant, or at facilities nearby.
My father devoted thirty-six years of his life to G.E., as an aircraft mechanic and middle manager. He did not live to enjoy the retirement to which he looked forward. He also saw the false flag of state politicians, touting a “Massachusetts Miracle”. Lynn, and the gritty suburbs just to the north of Boston, did not experience such a Renaissance- largely due to prioritization of new construction on vacant land, west of the Metro area, over the renovation and rebuilding of decrepit factory properties, in industrial suburbs like Chelsea, Everett, Winthrop and Somerville (which has experienced a rejuvenation, over the past fifteen years).
Dad, and most of the people I knew, during my own brief stint at GE Riverworks prior to joining the Army, were plainspoken folks, who also had solid native intelligence about making better products and putting company resources to wider use. Some in upper management listened, but most ignored “the help”. It is that attitude which has contributed to the unease, and anger, that has surfaced among blue collar workers and their families, for the past fifty years-reaching its zenith during the past decade.
A goodly amount of any human disaffection fades, when the ideas and innovations put forth by the workforce, in any organization, are heard, studied and taken seriously. Implementation would go a long way, towards both restoring worker morale and improving corporate performance. The group gathered in Boston, in fact, had several suggestions for the company’s efforts, in all three areas. Aviation workers are concerned with healthcare improvement and with clean energy. I can only hope that the leadership of business and industry gives their workers a clean bill of dignity, going forward.