NO LOVE AT GE LOCOMOTIVES IN ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA

Am I Next?  Job Loss at GE Locomotives, Erie, Pennsylvania

General Electric Transportation is planning to end most of its locomotive manufacturing operations at their 100-year-old plant in Erie, Pennsylvania which will result in the loss of approximately 575 jobs. GE’s workforce totals about 2,000 people performing mostly non-manufacturing duties. Of course, if the company decides to cut-back on management, the cuts could run deeper. Manufacturing for international customers will be shifted to Fort Worth, Texas, where approximately 225 workers may be recalled after a previous layoff at the Texas plant.

One of the dangers posed by Wall Street are activist investors who, like the legendary character Gordon Gecko, see their duty as maximizing shareholder value at any cost. And, all too often, executives fearful for their jobs have little choice other than to resign or implement dramatic cost savings measures which usually is a code phrase for moving to a more tax friendly environment and shedding personnel.

According to Bloomberg News, “The Boston-based manufacturer agreed earlier this year to deeper cost cuts through 2018 following discussions with shareholder Trian Fund Management, the firm co-founded by [activist investor] Nelson Peltz.

Nelson Peltz's investment firm Trian Partners has disclosed a new stake in General Electric (GE).  Trian now apparently owns 98.5 million shares of GE worth around $2.5 billion.

Of the stake, Peltz said that "We invested in GE because it is undervalued and underappreciated by the market despite what we believe is a transformation that will allow its world-class industrial businesses to drive attractive shareowner returns.  Our recent discussions with Jeff and his team have solidified our belief that they are highly motivated to fully deliver on GE's transformation and share much common ground with Trian on ways to improve long-term shareowner value." For those wishing to read Trian’s whitepaper on GE, it can be found here.

Jamie Miller, chief executive officer of GE Transportation, was quoted as saying, “We’ve been operating in a challenged North American locomotive market.” Of course, he was quick to add, “This action is taken so we can be as competitive as we can be.”

It pays for employees of large public companies to keep their eyes on company information that is freely available through the SEC’s EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval ) site.


NO LOVE AT THE CHARLESTON AREA MEDICAL CENTER

Am I Next? Charleston Area Medical Center Job Loss, Layoffs

In a YouTube Video presentation, Charleston Area Medical Center CEO David Ramsey announced that the enterprise would lay off 300 employees by the end of the year. While 56 non-clinical jobs remain unstaffed due to the hiring freeze, Ramsey is looking to regular job attrition rather than layoffs to accomplish the required reduction-in-force. 

Projected losses at the Medical Center are trending toward $40 million due to the expenses of the electronic health records conversion to meet Medicare requirements. Ramsey citied some rather shocking statistics that patients with commercial insurance are down from 20 percent to 17 percent which translates into about a $50 million loss to the bottom line. Other causes cited were increased governmental insurance with lower reimbursement rates, the nursing shortage, and increases in both technology and medicines. 

Of course, the statement included the standard yadda, yadda, yadda -- “These decisions were not made lightly, but it is CAMC’s obligation as the largest provider of critical care in our region to remain sustainable for the future.”

The bottom line is that the Medical Center will expect the remaining employees to pick up the slack or as David Ramsey says, “We will also be requiring that each department and cost center maintain 100 percent productivity beginning on August 1, 2017.” 
 


SOLUTIONS: ENGINEERING , COMMON NEED, AND COMMUNITY

I thought I would share a wonderful video that demonstrates the ancient technology of the Inca Indians, common need, and a sense of community purpose.  This is an amazing story that should serve as a guideline for the many projects that exist around our nation, especially within the decaying inner cities. The moral of the story is: "Where there is a will, there is a way."

Produced for the exhibition "The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire" (http://americanindian.si.edu/inkaroad/), on view at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., through June 1, 2018. Every year, local communities on either side of the Apurimac River Canyon use traditional Inka engineering techniques to rebuild the Q'eswachaka Bridge. The old bridge is taken down and the new bridge is built in only three days. The bridge has been rebuilt in this same location continually since the time of the Inka. This video is narrated by John Ochsendorf, professor of civil engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and produced by Noonday Films.