GE plans closure of Virginia facility

Citing “ongoing challenges in the power industry,” GE has announced plans to close its manufacturing facility in Salem, Virginia, USA.

The plant designs and produces control systems and integrated circuit boards for gas and steam generators, pitch systems for wind turbine blade controls, starters for gas turbines and down-tower assembly for wind power conversion systems. The letter of intent to close the plant noted “a significant decline in orders at this facility.”

“We have announced our intent to close our manufacturing facility in Salem, VA, and move the remaining work to other GE locations or to supplier partners,” GE’s letter said. “If requested by the local union, in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, GE will engage in a 60-day decision bargaining period with the union regarding the intended closure.

“if GE makes a final decision to go forward with this transfer of work, GE would continue to have a presence in the Salem community, employing more than 200 professionals across our Power, Renewable Energy and Baker Hughes businesses.”

“This action is difficult and does not reflect the performance, dedication, and hard work of our employees. If the site is closed, impacted employees, nearly half of whom are eligible for retirement, would be provided with a comprehensive severance package, including transition support to new employment.”

Started in 1955, the plant has employed thousands of employees, peaking at 3,500. Three years ago, the plant employed some 700 people and the number has further decreased since then.

In December, GE Power announced plans to reduce employee numbers by some 12,000. The OEM cited challenges in power markets, saying that gas turbine orders were coming down owing largely to overcapacity and renewables.