UE Local 506/618 releases a statement today, as officials from their union and Wabtec meet for mediation. Stay tuned to JET 24 Action News for more information.
Their full statement is as follows:
Wabtec workers from across western Pennsylvania will stage a rally at Wabtec’s Wilmerding air-brake facility in protest of archaic demands for forced overtime, and wage cuts for new hires, while officials from U.E. Local 506 and U.E. Local 618 negotiate on behalf of the Erie workforce.
“U.E. Local 610 supports our brothers and sisters in U.E. Locals 506 and 618 who continue to object to Wabtec’s archaic work rule demands that include things that were negotiated a decade ago,” says U.E. Local 610 President Antwon Gibson. “Wabtec should raise standards for all workers, not drive them down, in Erie, in Wilmerding, or anywhere in the world. All workers deserve dignity and respect, a decent wage, and the ability to spend time with their families and communities.”
“Our goals are the goals of workers across America,” said Scott Slawson, U.E. Local 506 President. “As we engage in negotiations, the support of our community fuels our resolve. We are united as a community and now as a region.”
“We will be in negotiations with the federal mediator on Wednesday as U.E. Local 618 and 506 members are in Wilmerding PA with Local 610 members, union, and community supporters at the company headquarters.” said Karleen Torrance President, U.E. Local 618. “Our membership’s determination to maintain sustainable family wages, benefits, and healthy work conditions continue to be the issues in the forefront of this strike.”
Also joining the rally will be State Representative Summer Lee, whose district includes U.E. Local 610 members that work at Wabtec.
The members of U.E. Locals 506 and 618 are locked out because after taking over GE Transportation, Wabtec has imposed “terms and conditions” that include mandatory overtime and arbitrary schedules, wage reductions of up to 38 percent for recalled and newly-hired workers and changes in job classifications that pose serious safety risks. The Union offered to continue to work unconditionally under the terms and conditions of the previous employer and continue negotiate. That offer was rejected by Wabtec. An economic impact study commissioned by U.E. Local 506 found that Wabtec’s demands would cost the Erie community approximately $17 million, about the same amount as Wabtec CEO Raymond Betler’s corporate merger bonus package.