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GE to Create Jobs, Energy-Efficient Appliances in Kentucky

June 2, 2009
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GE’s Consumer & Industrial division, Louisville, Ky., will manufacture highly energy efficient hybrid electric water heaters in Louisville, Ky., at the company’s Appliance Park facility-creating approximately 400 jobs.

GE’s Consumer & Industrial division, Louisville, Ky., will manufacture highly energy efficient hybrid electric water heaters in Louisville, Ky., at the company’s Appliance Park facility-creating approximately 400 jobs. The new hybrid patented technology will make GE the first manufacturer to introduce a water heater that will meet the new 2009 Department of Energy’s Energy Star standards for heat pump hot water heaters, says GE.

The decision to locate production of the product in Louisville came as a result of cooperative efforts, investments and incentives involving GE, the IUE-CWA, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Louisville Metro government. GE’s planned manufacturing facility also has a potential to create 1,600 incremental “green” jobs over time for suppliers and contract partners.

“We made the decision to build these products in Louisville because of the strong support from our state and local governments and the cooperative spirit of our Union leadership and our employees at Appliance Park,” says GE Consumer & Industrial President and CEO James Campbell. “This clearly indicates GE’s vote of confidence in this facility and our employees as a place where we can invest in our future, continuing our 50+ year history,” “Leadership from Governor Steve Beshear, Mayor Jerry Abramson, IUE-CWA President Jerry Carney and many others will help rebuild America’s manufacturing base, create jobs and enable innovative, energy-efficient American-made products to be competitive in the marketplace.”

Up to $17 million in incentives from the state and metro government will be made available for the design and construction of the new energy-efficient hybrid electric water heater and for several other investments that the company will make at Appliance Park during the next several years, which will total over $69 million. The state incentives, which were approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority on May 28, 2009, will be provided under the Kentucky Industrial Development Act (KIDA). Kentucky also will provide funds to train employees for the new jobs and will exempt from sales tax certain materials purchased to construct new facilities. And in Louisville, the Metro Council has approved an ordinance proposed by Mayor Jerry Abramson that will provide the city’s portion of the incentive package.

“We understood that GE had other U.S. locations where the company could make the new hybrid water heater,” says Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. “But the company-like others around the country-knew that Kentucky has made energy-related development one of our highest priorities. The nation’s energy needs are growing, yet it wants that energy to be clean and green. In Kentucky we see that as an economic opportunity.”

Producing the hybrid electric water heater in Louisville, starting in the second half of 2011, was also made possible by a May 27 vote by GE’s local IUE-CWA union membership that demonstrated a spirit of cooperation and lowered labor costs to the level GE needed to competitively produce its new innovative water heater. The union and employees approved a wage freeze until the current labor contract ends in 2011 and the implementation of new wage rates for new hires, making the facility more competitive and attractive than other manufacturing locations that were under consideration.

“The union leadership realized we were at the brink of a major, life-altering decision for our employees and the business,” says Local IUE-CWA President Jerry Carney. “Decisions like these are not easy to make but as you look around the country, you can see that employees who make the right choices to compete in this global economy win. I am proud of the IUE Local 761’s membership. GE and the IUE at Appliance Park are a winning team.”

To view a video explaining how the GE Hybrid Water Heater works, click Here.

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