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General Electric's Pittsfield Legacy

General Electric's Pittsfield Legacy


A gate leading to the former GE site in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Credit Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR
/
NEPR
A gate leading to the former GE site in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
NEPM's Nancy Cohen explores the economic and environmental legacy General Electric left behind in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where only a small staff for the company remains.

October marks 20 years since General Electric Co. signed an agreement to clean up PCBs the company had dumped in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Back then, the community was not only grappling with widespread contamination, but also the aftermath of losing thousands of GE jobs in the city.

For decades, multiple generations in many Pittsfield families worked at GE. The company provided workers — even those without experience — a way up. Workers got good pay and benefits. They could buy a house, a car, and even get a pension — the kind of job that’s almost unheard of today.