Our View: Thumbs up, thumbs down: Union plan may help save GE's DeKalb plant

Published: Friday, March 14, 2014 10:48 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 7, 2014 4:42 p.m. CDT

Thumbs up: For trying to save local manufacturing jobs. This week, the unions representing almost 100 workers at General Electric’s DeKalb Motors Plant submitted a proposal for cost cutting that they say would keep the factory on par with competitors. GE officials have said workers needed to lower costs by 20 to 30 percent.

A union representative says the unions, with support from officials from the City of DeKalb, DeKalb County Economic Development Corp., and Illinois Manufacturing Extension Office, were able to meet that figure. General Electric is expected to decide on the future of the factory, which makes small engines for commercial clothes dryers, next week.

Thumbs down: To the rising cost of not paying the bills. In 2013, Illinois’ state government paid $318 million in interest on late bills.

That’s enough to cover the annual budget of the Illinois State Police. The interest payments were more than double last year, and almost 10 times the $36.9 million paid in 2009. Unproductive uses of money such as these are a big reason why our state is still in financial trouble even though it is taking in more revenue than ever before.

Thumbs up: To the confirmation class at Salem Lutheran Church in Sycamore. They are collecting new and gently used shoes to donate to the Alsip-based nonprofit Share Your Soles Foundation, which sends shoes to impoverished people throughout the world. Their goal is 2,300 pairs, one more than the church’s high school youth group collected in 2010.

The community can help them out by dropping off shoes at the church at 145 DeKalb Ave. before April 17. Good luck to them.

Thumbs up: To helping vets. A new student magazine at Northern Illinois University aims to tell the stories of disabled veterans to raise funds for Huskie House, a DeKalb facility that will house disabled veterans while they study for a degree.

The program is part of Save-A-Vet, a national nonprofit that houses retired military and police service dogs. Because of the attack training and the front-line trauma these dogs undergo, they cannot be adopted out the general public upon their retirement.

Save-A-Vet places them with veterans who are able to handle the dogs and relate to their unique needs. The NIU program is a pilot program for an initiative Save-A-Vet hopes to roll out to other university campuses.

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