General Electric laying off 59 aviation engineers in Lynn

The move comes two weeks after GE announced it would move its global headquarters to Boston.

–AP

Just two weeks after General Electric announced it would move its global headquarters to Boston, its aviation division is laying off dozens of engineers at its Lynn facility.

“Unfortunately, yes, today we are in process of having to notify 59 engineers at GE Aviation in Lynn that they are being laid off,’’ GE Aviation spokesman Richard Gorham said.

The Lynn facility employs about 800 engineers and 2,800 total employees, Gorham said.

Gorham said GE’s aviation division is in a “somewhat unique’’ position of having engineered several new engines in the last several years.

“But as many of our new jet engines are being certified and/or entering service, GE Aviation’s level of engine development and its related resources will not be the same and, thus, we are unable to maintain the level of 4,352 engineers in the U.S.,’’ he said.

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Overall, 307 GE aviation engineers are losing their jobs in the U.S. today, 238 of them in the Cincinnati area, Gorham said.

U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton, who represents Lynn, had been in contact with GE officials about plans for the Lynn facility, spokeswoman Carrie Rankin said. She said those conversations had focused on assembly line and production workers, and that the office did not learn about the engineering layoffs until Thursday.

“We’re looking into it,’’ she said.

Gorham said GE sought to limit the number of layoffs.

“Significant effort has been made to move as many engineers as possible to other positions at GE Aviation and other GE businesses,’’ he said. The company also offered early retirement packages, he said.

The laid-off employees will receive severance benefits that include wages and medical coverage based on years of service, as well as outplacement services and in-house job fairs with other engineering companies, Gorham said.

The employees were not members of the union that represents GE workers in Lynn, said Peter Capano, the president of IUE-CWA Local 201.

The layoffs come just over two weeks after GE announced it would make Boston its new headquarters, a move that was met with celebration by politicians and business leaders. The move is expected to begin this year and be completed by 2018, and the headquarters are expected to employ 800 people.

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The Lynn aviation plant is not the only facility that GE is downsizing in Massachusetts. GE’s oil and gas division is also in the process of shutting down a plant in Avon, a move the company first announced in January 2015. GE Oil & Gas is consolidating the Avon plant and another plant in Louisiana into a new facility in Florida.

The Avon plant has already seen its 300-person staff begin to shrink, according Henry Pires, an employee at the Avon facility and its union representative.

Pires, who has worked at the plant since before GE bought it five years ago, said he met with state officials last year to see if the government could help to keep the plant open and retain its manufacturing jobs in Boston.

Pires said Avon employees are “hurt’’ that the city offered up to $25 million to GE in property taxes and the state offered up to $120 million in grants for infrastructure projects.

“They have some economic help for new companies coming in, but not much for the companies that are here,’’ Pires said.

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