500 Quit Jobs at Holyoke GE Plant

by Laurel | February 25th, 2014

General Electric Ad

General Electric Ad, 1939
Featuring Mount Holyoke College
Click through on image to enlarge

UE President Calls Mass Meeting for Monday

Five hundred employees at the Holyoke plant of the General Electric company left their jobs yesterday afternoon in what Harland P. Sisk, plant manager, formerly of Pittsfield, described as a “work stoppage.”

Leaders of United Electrical Workers (UE) Local 264 at the plant took issue with the plant manager and declared that the episode was “clearly die to confusion that exists between company and labor, and which management apparently prefers not to rectify.”

Robert P. Halliday, president of the local, has called a mass meeting of the unit for Monday morning.  Discussion at the meeting, according to Mr. Halliday, will concern “reasons why the company has canceled regular Friday afternoon grievance sessions with the union’s grievance board.”

Union leaders and plant executives said that yesterday’s action did not constitute a strike.  However, Mr. Sisk maintained that it might be labeled a “work stoppage.”

Stoppage May Continue

Indications are that the stoppage might continue Tuesday, the day employees are scheduled to return to work in full force.  The plant is closed Saturdays and only a few employees are slated to report for work Monday. Union officials indicated, however, that the crew scheduled to work Monday will not report.

The union president said he hoped to arrange a conference with Mr. Sisk before Tuesday, but the plant manager said that he “will definitely not meet with Mr. Halliday or a union committee until all workers have returned to their duties.”

In an official company statement, Mr. Sisk explained that because of “the dislocation caused by this work stoppage certain sections will not be able to resume operations until Tuesday.”

The Holyoke plant is under the jurisdiction of Robert Paxton of Pittsfield, manager of GE’s transformer and allied product divisions.  Mr. Sisk, the Holyoke manager, served the GE in Pittsfield in several capacities from 1928 through 1945.

GE officials here had no comment on the Holyoke situation this morning.  There are approximately 600 employees at the Holyoke plant at the present time.

Adapted from the Berkshire Eagle, 25 February 1950.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.