GE CEO: Manufacturing Jobs Should Comprise 20% of US Employment

Actions always speak louder than words.


Made in China. Protect the environment.

Made in China. Protect the environment.

Here’s what GE’s CEO, Jeffrey Immelt,  told the Detroit Press Club back in June:

“We would do much better to observe the example of China. they’ve been growing fast because they invest in technology and they make things.  They have no intention of letting up in manufacturing in order to evolve into a service economy.”

This is the same GE that closed lighting manufacturing plants here in Ohio.

Who decided to close our manufacturing plants here in Ohio, Jeff?

Who decided not to reinvest money here in Ohio to “make things?”

Who decided that absorbing say, $500 000 000  in restructuring costs to close a small number of plants is better than spending,  $40-45 000 000 in reinvestment to make new CFL technology light bulbs here in the USA?

Where do you suppose US workers might get those “green manufacturing jobs” if you’re not building the factories to make light bulbs here in the US?

So before you reach for that  that “green” CFL lightbulb with the GE logo on it, remember the hypocrisy of  Jeffrey Immelt, “20 % of US jobs should be manufacturing jobs,” while closing plants and failing to reinvest to make these “green products” here in the US. 

When you see that ad on TV from GE to “Buy Green,” what they are really saying is “BUY FROM CHINA.”

Note to Jeff Immelt:  US labor productivity is among the highest in the world. Our factories are subject to stringent regulations to assure that we protect the environment. Why would you not want to make this staple “green” product here?

Just wondering.


7 Responses to GE CEO: Manufacturing Jobs Should Comprise 20% of US Employment

  1. M.C. Barry says:

    Dead on, Mr. Free. Thank you for being one of the few voices willing to expose this hypocrisy. ‘Greenback’ at any cost clearly is the unstated word at the heart of Mr. Immelt’s concern.

  2. Kevin Johnson says:

    Sad, but true. It didn’t just start with the current CEO though… We have supplied tooling to GE Lighting for over 50 years. They basically started our company. Now but a blip on our radar. Took a drastic nose dive over the last 15 years. This all started when they got on this reverse auction, treat-all-suppliers-like-a-commodity kick. They lured skilled and knowledgeable people into early retirement, replaced them with drones and cut off all technical assistance to them.
    (I have to be careful here..) A few years ago, when they were tooling up a facility in China, all of these engineers and technical people miraculously showed up to support the project. I still wonder why they were not available to support the US plants….?
    There is also another story to be told about the infighting caused by Jack’s 10% trimming of the deadwood every year…

    Go Green(back) is right.

    In Mr. Immelt’s defense, he is at least “A” voice for manufacturing and he is somewhat correct in that China (as a country) is much more supportive of manufacturing. Maybe he has more details to share on GE’s decision to pull the plug on US lighting…

  3. Greg Knox says:

    Spot on

    What is happening in manufacturing is the inevitable outcome of decades of sellout from our government.

    Politicians stuff their pockets with the moneis of lobbyists whose pockets are stuffed by corporate bureaucrats, who’s pockets are stuffed with bonuses acquired by shipping all the work (and jobs) over seas to countries lke China, who our government acknowledges as “World Free Trade Partners”…

    Totally unsafe working conditions…
    Far and away greatest pollouting nation in the world…
    Currency manipulators…
    Force abortions on female citizens…
    Aggressive communists…
    Flagrant patent rights violaters…

    Yeah…really sounds like a good “partner” to me…

    Again, who can even hear the “sucking sound” Ross Perot referred to in Mexico (NAFTA) over the maelstrom of sellout to China

    Wake up sheeple – the hour is late…

    Get off the sidelines…

  4. Noah Graff says:

    Congrats on the new blog!

    Good point Miles. Like I always say when I’m teaching a girl how to salsa dance, “Do as I say, not as I do.” 🙂

    I agree with Kevin Johnson though too. I’d like to get some info on what else Immelt is up to. And maybe speaking out for the sake of American manufacturing, despite not supporting it, is better than doing nothing at all. Still hypocritical though.

  5. Ron Herrera says:

    As a former GE Management program graduate and “growing up” with the Jack Welch management, I still try to keep up with GE and what is happening. I have a lot of ties to the GE Locomotive plant here in Erie and what I have been hearing is, “Gee, that’s great, now let’s actually see this in action.” GE recently announced that they are laying off here in Erie, while at the same time they have contracts with China, Kazakhstan, and India (that I know of) that requires them to build a limited number of locomotives in Erie, then they must have a facility to build them in country.

    One of the related posts, stated that although this sound good, Immelt is going to have to be a better leader than he has been to stand up to these contracts and attempt to put more into manufacturing here in the US.

    I believe that as one of the largest manufacturing companies, GE is going to have to be the one to “set the example” of how it can be done in America. Unfortunately, this will be a very difficult road, with the pressures of Wall Street on one side, pushing hard for short term numbers, and GE’s remaining labor unions on the other side, trying to hold on to what they have.

    Immelt will have to be as tenacious as Welch in driving this message to middle management. That is where this will succeed or fail. Welch made no bones about it, my way or the highway. It was the only way to get through the kingdoms of middle management, and it worked. I’m just not sure Immelt believes this enough to pull this off, or was it just another speech.

  6. “What is happening in manufacturing is the inevitable outcome of decades of sellout from our government.” – I must respectfully disagree. What is happening in manufacturing is decades of asking Congress (over and over) for a plan to help and support – even save
    – manufacturing.

    It might be a good time to start helping and OMG, that dreaded word – protecting, our own. We need to circle the wagons, today, and get on with it. The three big issues my manufacturing clients are working on are: Globalization, Consolidation and Cost-Containment. These firms are not working in isolation – there are many new and innovative ways for firms to realize all three. The problem is that the solutions are not all born and bred in the USA.

    As for Mr. Immelt, he’s joined the ranks of folks who give lip service to important issues, and not one constructive alternative, or workable solution. I hate buzz words, but they do generate press, and interest.

    • speakingofprecision says:

      Thanks Sandra. I believe “decades of sellout” might refer to lack of substantive action on Chinese currency manipulation by all administrations. We seem to continue to elect “appeasers.”
      Or “ostriches.” Our industry makes tyechnologies that go on products that are exported. We are not anti-trade. nor are we rent seekers. We are for level playing fields, not the ravages of predatory currency schemes and bald mercantilism. thanks for the conversation!

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