GE plans to close Bloomington refrigerator plant, end 329 jobs

June 15, 2016

GE Appliances says it plans to close its Bloomington refrigerator plant, eliminating its 329 remaining jobs.

The company announced the planned closing Wednesday, citing demand for the side-by-side refrigerators manufactured at the plant that has fallen by 76 percent since 2008. It says the plant is scheduled to operate only 22 weeks this year.

The closing is subject to negotiations with Local 2249 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents the plant's 301 hourly workers.

The company said 94 percent of all employees would be eligible to retire with comprehensive pension and health coverage, severance based on length of service, preferential hiring rights at other GE plants, and other benefits.

GE eliminated about 130 jobs at the plant in 2013 through layoffs and early retirements.

General Electric Co. announced June 6 that it had completed the sale of GE Appliances to Haier Group of China for $5.6 billion, which includes an approximate $200 million increase from the originally announced sale price to account for increased working capital in the business.

GE almost sold the appliances business to Swedish company Electrolux last year, but scrapped the $3.3 billion plan in December. The deal was opposed by U.S. regulators over concerns about competition.

GE has been making refrigerators in Bloomington since 1967. The plant was once considered the world's largest refrigerator facility, employing more than 3,200 workers at the end of the last century.


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