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General Electric to close northern NY plant

FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (AP) -- General Electric Co. said Thursday it will close a northern New York electrical capacitor plant that employs about 200 workers.

The Fairfield, Conn.-based company informed workers that it will follow through on plans announced in September to close its plant 45 miles north of Albany and move operations to an existing manufacturing site in Clearwater, Fla.

The plant near the Hudson River will not close before September 2014.

The announcement came on the heels of a 60-day decision bargaining period with the union representing most of the plant's workers. GE rejected a proposal from the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Local 332 to save the operation by cutting 10 percent of the workforce at the plant.

"The proposal submitted by the union fell well short of the savings and efficiencies that would be generated by the proposed move to Clearwater — savings that are critical to the future of the business," GE said in a statement.

Scott Gates, who has worked at the plant for a decade, claimed GE never really engaged in serious discussions to save the plant.

"It's pretty sad day in Fort Edward," said Gates, who assembles electronic components. "How do you replace 200 middle-class, union jobs?"

The company said the Fort Edward site has been losing money for several years and that it would help displaced employees explore other job opportunities.

GE, which is conducting a $2 billion federal Superfund cleanup of PCBs from the Hudson River, added that it will continue to "meet its environmental commitments to New York state."