LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- General Electric plans to outsource its distribution operation at Appliance Park, a move that would affect about 200 union jobs.

The Louisville warehouse -- a building known as AP10 -- "continues to lag behind industry performance" and costs 30 percent more to operate than seven other GE warehouses around the country that are run by third-party companies specializing in logistics, GE told employees in a letter announcing the change on Wednesday. (SEE A COPY OF THE LETTER BELOW THIS STORY).

The move won't take effect for at least six months, and IUE-CWA Local 761, which represents hourly workers at Appliance Park, now has a 60-day period in which it can negotiate alternatives with GE.

In an interview Wednesday night, Local 761 President Dana Crittendon called the move "devastating" and ill-timed given the appliance business' pending sale to Haier Group of China, which could close in June.

"This is just a blow," he said, adding that it's the union's "intent" to convince GE not to follow through on the plan.

In a statement, GE Appliances spokeswoman Kim Freeman said transferring the work to a third-party warehousing company would improve customer service and save GE money. If the plan is carried out, GE anticipates "AP10 employees would be absorbed into other operations at Appliance Park."

Crittendon said the AP10 workers may have rights to "bump" less senior production from jobs elsewhere in Appliance Park, and eventually, some recently hired workers may not have a position. 

In the letter to employees, AP10 Plant Manager Josh Lyon said the operation is "less productive and continues to trend in the wrong direction," with the highest average "cost-per-handle" of all GE's warehouses despite $5 million  invested in equipment and improvements since 2013.

Crittendon said the comparison is not fair as other GE warehouses are "half the size" of AP10 and some of GE's performance metrics "don't add up." He said the union workers have made "a lot strides" to improve performance with the building's new managers.

"You keep raising the bar, you're going to have it so far out there, it's hard to reach," he said. 

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