SCHENECTADY — The union representing hourly workers at General Electric’s Schenectady campus rallied at the gate Tuesday, firing up a couple hundred members as contract talks with the financially troubled company draw near.

Joining IUE-CWA Local 301 for the early afternoon rally were members of four other Capital Region unions. Most carried signs for the Union Strong campaign of the New York State AFL-CIO, an umbrella organization for 3,000 unions representing 2.5 million New Yorkers.

Many of those present cast the impending contract talks against a larger picture of organized labor vs. big corporations in America.

But the focus was on GE's workers here. Their four-year contract expires in June, and its replacement will be negotiated amid an aggressive cost- and job-cutting campaign by the industrial conglomerate, especially within its troubled GE Power unit, which was formerly headquartered at the foot of Erie Boulevard and still accounts for many of the jobs there.

Local 301 Business Agent Rob Macherone, who will be going with a negotiating committee to Cincinnati for contract talks June 3, said he expects GE will try to improve its bottom line through savings on his members’ salaries and benefits.