UPDATE: GE closing 3 former Alstom plants in Chattanooga - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: GE closing 3 former Alstom plants in Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Alstom's time in Chattanooga is coming to an end.  

Acquired by General Electric in a $10.6 billion dollar acquisition in late 2015, the French multinational company arrived in Chattanooga with great fanfare December 31, 2007, with an announcement of a $200 million investment in a new manufacturing facility in Chattanooga and would employ 350 people.

Channel 3 spoke with one employee's wife about the closures. She asked us not to use her name for fear of retaliation against her husband.

"It's been our bread and butter. It's been a decent bread and butter and a decent place to work. He had hoped to retire from there," the woman said.

Workers told Channel 3 they had to go to a mandatory staff meeting on Tuesday. They were told GE would close all 3 facilities in Chattanooga.

The former Alstom plant has three divisions located in Chattanooga; the boiler operations, the materials technology center and the turbomachines divisions employ about 235 workers. There are three other locations in Knoxville.

"I don't have any tears left right now, but I'm hoping something good will come out of this for him and everyone else," the woman said.

A statement from GE Power reads:

Based on the current competitive marketplace, the challenges the power industry continues to face, and as part of the integration of GE and legacy Alstom assets, GE continues to review its operations, organizational structure, products and services to support its growth strategy and meet the needs of its customers.

As a result, we’re announcing our plan to close three legacy Alstom facilities in Chattanooga, TN; the Steam Turbine Manufacturing facility, the Boiler Service Center, and the Materials Technology Center. This planned action, while extremely difficult, is viewed as necessary to allow GE to manage costs and capacity in a very competitive market. We anticipate these announcements to impact approximately 235 employees across the three facilities. The closures are expected to begin later this year and continue through the end of 2016. We have approximately 50 Chattanooga employees in engineering, commercial and other functions who are not being impacted by this action.

These are very difficult decisions and this plan is in no way a negative reflection of GE’s Chattanooga workforce. GE will provide comprehensive benefits to assist impacted employees through this transition, and the company is prepared to bargain with the local unions concerning the impact of this plan on represented employees, including subjects of severance pay and group insurance. 

READ MORE | Alstom timeline in Chattanooga

In mid-2015, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke renegotiated the city's property tax deal after Alstom failed to meet hiring projections from a 2008 expansion.

The incentive agreement put the company on the hook for an additional $630,000 in taxes annually for the remainder of their contract with the city.

In 2008, Chattanooga and Hamilton County agreed to enter into a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Tax ) agreement with Alstom Power Turbomachines that stated:

  • Alstom agrees to add net 300 new jobs at an average wage of $75,000/year
  • Alstom agrees to add $200 million in personal property investment
  • Alstom agrees to add $65 million in real property investment
  • Alstom was required to submit yearly progress reports starting in 2009, but under the contract,
  • The City and County are not able to take any action based on those reports until 2015. 

Alstom has had several rounds of layoffs and downsizing; 80 jobs were eliminated from the turbomachines division in 2013 and a 2014 furlough of 255 workers from the boiler operations.

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