LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The CEO of Electrolux was among the company's high ranking executives who visited GE Appliance Park on the day after it was announced that the Swedish firm is buying GE's Appliance Division, now headquartered in Louisville.
WDRB News spoke with the president of the union at GE who was among those who met with CEO Keith McLoughlin.
While representatives from Electrolux were meeting privately at the giant manufacturing complex with workers and local political leaders, other rank and file union members were having a private meeting of their own at their union hall.
Some of the workers told us the mood of the workforce is somewhat somber following the purchase of the Appliance Park by Electrolux. But the union president says he believes the mood is pretty good given all of the changes ahead at the Louisville manufacturing operation.
"In the meeting I said we need to stay the course, make the best products in the world and secure our future," says Eric Simms.
Simms says the workers have expressed a number of concerns including questions about pensions, 401-K's and whether Appliance Park would be gaining jobs or losing them.
He says he told them for now they are GE employees, nothing has changed since the sale and until the sale is final sometime in 2015, to try to work hard and not worry about what they cannot control.
Simms was among those to meet with Electrolux executives.
"We had a very good and optimistic meeting about going forward together," he says, adding that the issue of what impact the sale will have on current jobs at the park did not come up.
"That's all going to be down the road."
The union will have to negotiate a new contract with the new owners. Electrolux has five factories in the United States, but only one is a union shop.
"They(GE and Electrolux) are different businesses and they may have different thoughts on how they may run their businesses," Simms adds.
That topic also did not come up in the Tuesday morning meeting. Says Simms, "It was more or less just a meet and greet."
A GE spokesperson says while Tuesday's visit by Electrolux executives was private, sometime in the future it is likely they will come back to Louisville and answer questions about what the sale will mean to Appliance Park and its workers.
So for now most of the answers will have to wait.
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