Special Election Notice 7/26/21
UE Local 506 Business Agent, Mike Ferritto has recently announced he has accepted the Northwest Regional Directors Position for Governor Wolf and will resign from office. Additionally, Executive Board Member-at-Large, Matt McCracken has officially announced his retirement and will resign from office in September. In order to fill these positions in preparation for their departure, Local 506 will be holding special elections. Nominations for Business Agent and one Executive Board Member-at-Large will be accepted from the floor during the August 19, 2021 membership meetings. If necessary, a special election will be held during the September 23, 2021 membership meetings to fill these vacancies.
CONSTITUTIONAL DUTIES OF THE BUSINESS AGENT
Section 4: The Business Agent shall participate in the negotiations of all grievances, which have been selected to be processed through Step 3 in the grievance procedure.
He/ she shall supervise and give direction to all office personnel who are employed in the Bookkeeping and Clerical Departments of the Union.
He/she shall be responsible for the correspondence of the union. He/she shall be responsible for the business of the Union. He/ she shall keep all of the records pertinent to the Unions welfare.
He/she shall be responsible for the publication of the UE News. He/she shall be a member of the Executive Board and be subject to the orders of the Executive Board. He/she shall be a delegate to the Eastern Region.
CONSTITUTIONAL DUTIES OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS AT LARGE
Section 8: Executive Board Members At Large shall represent the membership at Executive Board meetings and other functions. They may be called upon for any special committee or investigation group.
The Executive Board Member At Large is charged with the responsibility of providing communications between the General Membership and the Union Officers.
L&I Extends Partnership with Identity Verification Vendor ID. Me to Reduce Unemployment Compensation Claim Fraud Attempts
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier announced today that the department’s partnership with virtual identity verification vendor ID.me has been extended to provide identity verification for all new Unemployment Compensation (UC) claims.
“We take unemployment benefit fraud very seriously at L&I, and we are committed to working with our partners to prevent fraudulent claims and hold those responsible accountable for their actions,” said Secretary Berrier. “Through our partnership with ID.me for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, we were able to prevent millions of dollars in taxpayer money from being stolen by fraudsters. By using ID.me for the Unemployment Compensation program, we can replicate this success.”
L&I first announced a partnership with ID.me in September after a surge of fraudulent claims were detected in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which is a special program created by the federal government to provide unemployment benefits to individuals who lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are not typically eligible for UC. The fraudulent claims are not caused by a data leak or breach at L&I – they are being filed by fraudsters using identities stolen from data leaks that occurred outside of state government. ID.me adds a layer of security to L&I’s already robust antifraud measures by requiring individuals filing a new claim to verify their identity.
While fraudsters initially targeted the PUA program, recently L&I has noticed an uptick in fraudulent UC claims. The majority of fraudulent UC claims are stopped before payment occurs through other antifraud tactics. ID.me will catch many fraudulent claims when they are first submitted, allowing L&I staff to direct attention to other issues and preventing the individuals whose identities were stolen and their employers from needing to take any action. The use of ID.me also deters fraudsters from attempting to file fraudulent claims, as demonstrated by a reduction in fraud attempts shortly after ID.me was put in place for the PUA program.
The identity verification step through ID.me has been integrated into the process to file an initial application and takes just a few minutes. As individuals log into benefits.uc.pa.gov for the first time, they will be walked through the steps of verifying their identity through ID.me.
L&I encourages individuals to remain vigilant about guarding their personal and confidential information and to monitor for signs that their information is being used fraudulently. Signs of fraud include:
- Individuals receiving unrequested unemployment paperwork from L&I’s Office of Unemployment Compensation.
- Individuals receiving unemployment benefit payments they did not apply for from the Pennsylvania Treasury.
- Employers receiving notice that a claim has been opened for a current employee who is actively working, or an unknown person.
Pennsylvania DLI – How do I verify my identity for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) if I received an email?
For tips and best practices for selecting and uploading acceptable identity documents, click here.
ID.me has entered a partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) to facilitate Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
First, check to make sure that identity verification is required:
1. Navigate to your Pennsylvania PUA Benefits Portal.
2. After you login, navigate to the My Benefits Plan widget for a summary of the issues with your claim.
3. Scroll to the Outstanding Claim Issues section.
4. Identity verification is required only if IP- Investigation Case Special Project Scheme System is listed as an issue. (If it is not listed, refer to this guide for help with any other issues.)
First, check to make sure that identity verification is required:
- Navigate to your Pennsylvania PUA Benefits Portal.
- After you login, navigate to the My Benefits Plan widget for a summary of the issues with your claim.
- Scroll to the Outstanding Claim Issues section.
- Identity verification is required only if IP- Investigation Case Special Project Scheme System is listed as an issue. (If it is not listed, refer to this guide for help with any other issues.)
To verify your identity:
1. If you were sent a notification email through your PUA dashboard, click the link in that message to visit the website, then click the green Verify with ID.me button.
2. You will be directed to the ID.me sign-in page.
You can sign in to your existing ID.me account, or create a new one.
3. Confirm your email address.
4. Select a multi-factor authentication option.
5. Verify your identity.
Select Driver’s license or state ID, Passport, or Passport card to upload.
You can take a photo with your mobile device or upload from your computer.
6. If you chose to take a photo with your device, follow the onscreen prompts.
You’ll be asked to input your phone number. ID.me will send you a text message with a link to your smartphone to take photos of your ID.
7. When prompted, take and submit a selfie.
8. Enter all other requested information, including your Social Security number
9. Review and confirm to and click Continue.
10. At the end of the process, be sure to click Allow and continue.
This step shares your identity information with DLI.
If you are not able to complete the verification process due to an issue with your documentation, you will be routed to verify your identity over a video call with a Trusted Referee. Wait times may vary. You will need to show your identity documents to a Trusted Referee along with a selfie (a photo of yourself) to complete your verification.
After your identity verification is successful, DLI will email you through your dashboard (usually within one day) to confirm your verification.
Work Search Requirements will restart the week July 11-17, 2021.
Work search requires all Unemployment Compensation (UC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants to apply for two jobs and complete one work search activity every week.
The Work Search Question
The UC/PUA Benefits system will ask you the following question for each claim week:
“[Your First Name], Did you complete your required work searches and/or work search activities during the week beginning Sunday, [date], and ending with Saturday
You must choose to answer “Yes” or “No” to advance to the next weekly certification question.
Select “Yes” if you completed your work search activities for the week.
If you are exempt, you will select “Yes”. For more information about exemptions, please refer to the question, “Can I be exempt from work search requirements?” for a list of individual exemptions.
Select “No” if you are not exempt and you did not perform the work search. You may be denied benefits for this claim week.
What are Work Search Activities?
- Attending a job fair
- Searching open positions on PA CareerLink® or job posting boards
- Creating and uploading a resume to PA CareerLink® or job posting boards
- Seeking networking opportunities
- Using an employment agency, employment registry, or school placement service.
- Taking a civil service test or other pre-employment tests.
- Participating in a training workshop or event offered through PA CareerLink
Note: If you live outside of Pennsylvania, you may participate in these types of activities offered by your state employment service.
How do I know if I have met the work search requirements?
You may use the chart below to verify that you have satisfied the UC work search requirements.
If you are able to check one box in each column, you have satisfied your UC work search requirements for the week.
Do I need to track my activities?
Yes. L&I may request to see your work search activities at any time for two years from the effective date of your claim. Do not send your work search record to the Department unless it is requested. However, you may choose to upload documents to the dashboard for safekeeping. To upload documents, log in to your benefits portal and navigate to “Unemployment Services” from the homepage, choose “Provide Additional Documentation” then “Upload a Document” to keep your work search records on file. Failure to provide your work search record upon request may result in ineligibility for benefits and liability to repay the benefits you have received.
You may use the Work Search Record (or Español) PDF, for tracking your activities, but it is not required if you have another way of tracking the same information.
|Reminder: Status Updates of New UC System|
|Want to learn more about the status of updates to the new UC system? We’re posting regularly Facebook – www.facebook.com/PALaborIndustry/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/palaborindustry Banners on the website and the UC system login page The UC System Check Enhancements Tracker|
|Keystone ID Help|
|Need help navigating the new Keystone ID login process? You can call the UC helpline at 1-888-313-7284 and choose option 3 from the menu to speak to a customer service representative who specializes in Keystone ID. The UC helpline is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.|
UE Local 506
Pennsylvania Extended Benefits (EB) Program Ends
The Extended Benefits (EB) program will end in Pennsylvania, due to the declining unemployment rate. The last payable week of Extended Benefits (EB) is the week ending May 15, 2021.
Individuals who had been collecting EB will transition back to federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). This transition will be automatic, meaning claimants do not need to do anything to be moved from EB to PEUC. Additionally, the change in program will not cause any changes in the filing process or benefit amount.
Extended Benefits (EB) were additional Unemployment Compensation benefits payable to qualified workers when an “Extended Benefit Period” occurs in Pennsylvania. An EB period begins following the third week after the unemployment rate reached a certain level determined by law then triggers off after it falls below that same level.
The most recent EB period began May 3, 2020, but benefits were not payable until an individual had exhausted PEUC benefits. Therefore, EB payments were only payable from week ending July 4, 2020 through week ending May 15, 2021.
The EB weekly benefit rate (WBR) was the same as the rate payable to individuals on their qualifying regular unemployment compensation claim, including dependents’ allowances (DA).
FAQS ABOUT COBRA PREMIUM ASSISTANCE UNDER THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT OF 2021
I have heard that the ARP included temporary COBRA premium assistance to pay for health coverage. I would like more information.
The ARP provides temporary premium assistance for COBRA continuation coverage for Assistance Eligible Individuals (see Q3 to determine if you are eligible). COBRA allows certain people to extend employment-based group health plan coverage, if they would otherwise lose the coverage due to certain life events such as loss of a job. Individuals may be eligible for premium assistance if they are eligible for and elect COBRA continuation coverage because of their own or a family member’s reduction in hours or an involuntary termination from employment. This premium assistance is available for periods of coverage from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. This premium assistance is generally available for continuation coverage under the Federal COBRA provisions, as well as for group health insurance coverage under comparable state continuation coverage (“mini-COBRA”) laws. If you were offered Federal COBRA continuation coverage as a result of a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination of employment, and you declined to take COBRA continuation coverage at that time, or you elected Federal COBRA continuation coverage and later discontinued it, you may have another opportunity to elect COBRA continuation coverage and receive the premium assistance, if the maximum period you would have been eligible for COBRA continuation coverage has not yet expired (if COBRA continuation coverage had been elected or not discontinued).
Which plans does the premium assistance apply to?
The COBRA premium assistance provisions apply to all group health plans sponsored by private-sector employers or employee organizations (unions) subject to the COBRA rules under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). They also apply to plans sponsored by State or local governments subject to the continuation provisions under the Public Health Service Act. The premium assistance is also available for group health insurance required under state mini-COBRA laws.
How can I tell if I am eligible to receive the COBRA premium assistance?
The ARP makes the premium assistance available for “Assistance Eligible Individuals.” An Assistance Eligible Individual is a COBRA qualified beneficiary who meets the following requirements during the period from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021:
• Is eligible for COBRA continuation coverage by reason of a qualifying event that is a reduction in hours (such as reduced hours due to change in a business’s hours of operations, a change from full-time to part-time status, taking of a temporary leave of absence, or an individual’s participation in a lawful labor strike, as long as the individual remains an employee at the time that hours are reduced) or an involuntary termination of employment (not including a voluntary termination); and
• Elects COBRA continuation coverage. However, you are not eligible for the premium assistance if you are eligible for other group health coverage, such as through a new employer’s plan or a spouse’s plan (not including excepted benefits, a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA), or a health flexible spending arrangement (FSA)), or if you are eligible for Medicare. Note that if you have individual health insurance coverage, like a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace®2, or if you have Medicaid, you may be eligible for ARP premium assistance.
However, if you elect to enroll in COBRA continuation coverage with premium assistance, you will no longer be eligible for a premium tax credit, advance payments of the premium tax credit, or the health insurance tax credit for your health coverage during that period. Note: If the employee’s termination of employment was for gross misconduct, the employee and any dependents would not qualify for COBRA continuation coverage or the premium assistance.
If I am eligible for the premium assistance, how long will it last?
Your premium assistance can last from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. However, it will end earlier if: • You become eligible for another group health plan, such as a plan sponsored by a new employer or a spouse’s employer (not including excepted benefits, a QSEHRA, or a health FSA), or you become eligible for Medicare**, or • You reach the end of your maximum COBRA continuation coverage period. If you continue your COBRA continuation coverage after the premium assistance period, you may have to pay the full amount of the premium otherwise due. Failure to do so may result in your loss of COBRA continuation coverage. Contact your plan administrator, employer sponsoring the plan, or health insurance issuer for more information. When your COBRA premium assistance ends, you may be eligible for Medicaid or a special enrollment period to enroll in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace® or to enroll in individual market health insurance coverage outside of the Marketplace. A special enrollment period is also available when you reach the end of your maximum COBRA coverage period. You may apply for and, if eligible, enroll in Medicaid coverage at any time. For more information, go to: https://www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/getting-medicaid-chip/. **Individuals receiving the COBRA premium assistance must notify their plans if they become eligible for coverage under another group health plan (not including excepted benefits, a QSEHRA, or a health FSA), or for Medicare. Failure to do so can result in a tax penalty.
Who is eligible for an additional election opportunity for COBRA continuation coverage?
A qualified beneficiary whose qualifying event was a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination of employment prior to April 1, 2021 and who did not elect COBRA continuation coverage when it was first offered prior to that date or who elected COBRA continuation coverage but is no longer enrolled (for example, an individual who dropped COBRA 2 Health Insurance Marketplace® is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 4 continuation coverage because he or she was unable to continue paying the premium) may have an additional election opportunity at this time. Individuals eligible for this additional COBRA election period must receive a notice of extended COBRA election period informing them of this opportunity. This notice must be provided within 60 days of the first day of the first month beginning after the date of the enactment of the ARP (so, by May 31, 2021) and individuals have 60 days after the notice is provided to elect COBRA. However, this additional election period does not extend the period of COBRA continuation coverage beyond the original maximum period (generally 18 months from the employee’s reduction in hours or involuntary termination). COBRA continuation coverage with premium assistance elected in this additional election period begins with the first period of coverage beginning on or after April 1, 2021. Individuals can begin their coverage prospectively from the date of their election, or, if an individual has a qualifying event on or before April 1st, choose to start their coverage as of April 1st, even if the individual receives an election notice and makes such election at a later date. In either case, please note that the premium assistance is only available for periods of coverage from April 1, 2021 through September 30,2021.
I am an Assistance Eligible Individual who has been enrolled in COBRA continuation coverage since December 2020. Will I receive a refund of the premiums that I have already paid?
No. The COBRA premium assistance provisions in the ARP apply only to premiums for coverage periods from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. If you were eligible for premium assistance, but paid in full for periods of COBRA continuation coverage beginning on or after April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021, you should contact the plan administrator or employer sponsoring the plan to discuss a credit against future payments (or a refund in certain circumstances.)
How can I get more information on my eligibility for COBRA continuation coverage or the premium assistance, including help if my employer has denied my request for the premium assistance?
For group health plans sponsored by private-sector employers, guidance and other information is available on the DOL web site at https://www.dol.gov/cobra-subsidy. You can also contact one of EBSA’s Benefits Advisors at askebsa.dol.gov or 1.866.444.3272. EBSA’s Benefits Advisors may also be able to assist if you feel that your plan or employer has improperly denied your request for treatment as an Assistance Eligible Individual. Employers and plans may be subject to an excise tax under the Internal Revenue Code for failing to satisfy the COBRA continuation coverage requirements. This tax could be as much as $100 per qualified beneficiary, but not more than $200 per family, for each day that the plan or employer is in violation of the COBRA rules. If you feel you may have been improperly denied premium assistance, contact EBSA at askebsa.dol.gov or 1.866.444.3272.
Mask Policy Update
Mask mandates are changing, and the guidance provided has created more questions than answers. The union inquired with the company to understand exactly how these changes will impact Wabtec’s mask policy. Union Relations informed us that the EHS team is working with the Erie County Health Department to understand what changes are necessary. The company expects to have proper guidance by Wednesday, May 19. We will continue to keep you informed of any additional information as it becomes available.
In Plant Vaccine for Wabtec Employees Offered
We are pleased to announce that Wegman’s Pharmacy has offered to come to the Erie plant to administer the Moderna Vaccine to any Erie facility Wabtec employee or contractor interested. Employees on a temporary layoff can also schedule an appointment for the dates listed below. To provide this service, Wegmans requires a minimum of 50 interested individuals.
While there is no charge for employees, your insurance card must be provided. The first shot in the series will be administered at the Fitness Center in Building 14 on either Friday, May 7 or Friday, May 14. Appointments, masks and physical distancing are required. If you are interested, please click on the date desired to schedule your appointment:
The second shot in the series will also be available at the plant and will be scheduled in person at the time of your first shot.
Wabtec is not mandating the vaccine.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) provides that, for the period from April 1, 2021 until September 30, 2021, if an individual’s Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (“COBRA”) qualifying event is an involuntary termination of employment or a reduction of hours (each, an “assistance eligible individual”), then 100% of the COBRA premium is paid by the employer, health plan, or insurer and the premium expense is reimbursed by the federal government through a refundable FICA tax credit.
Wabtec Human Resource informed the Union the updated COBRA notices are ready to send out and laid-off members should be receiving them in the mail soon. The notice will include guidance for members to reactivate their insurance if they opted out of COBRA at the time of their initial qualifying separation. Additionally, it will provide guidance to request reimbursements for April premiums and other advanced payments.
If you have questions about your rights to COBRA continuation coverage, you should contact BCC’s Customer Service Call Center:
To assure you receive the trade benefits you are entitled, you will need to sign up for a TRADE BRI (Benefit Rights Interview)
Due to COVID-19 the first few meetings will be virtual meetings via SKYPE.
Step 1) Sign up here – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RRTradeBRI
The Trade BRI will be held VIRTUALLY on Skype on Monday June 22nd, at 1:30pm.
Sign up above and you will get an invite via email within 48 hours. (If you don’t receive the email, check your Spam folder.)
Step 2) Fill out ONLY the highlighted sections of document, FORM 8-55 Print, sign, and get it to the Union Hall. This is how you will get your Trade Determination under Petition #93917. You must have a determination to use your trade benefits!
Step 3) Make sure you read over the Trade Handbook (UCP-11D)
Step 4) You will also need to PRINT and SIGN the UCP-11D form that states you have received and read the UCP-11D trade handbook (link above).
Step 5) Return the two signed FORMS (8-55 & UCP 11-D acknowledgment) to the UE 506 Union Hall PRIOR TO MEETING on June 22nd .
You must fill out the online SURVEY (Step 1, above) to get an INVITE to the Virtual TRADE BRI meeting. June 22, at 1:30pm. Make sure when you get the Invite via Email, that you check to see if you can use the SKYPE link either on your phone or computer PRIOR TO THE MEETING. The best way to do that…is before your virtual meeting. Check the link, and download the Skype APP or you can use the web browser link. It’s best to be able to “see” the presentation on the screen. More directions will be coming via email once you sign up above or HERE.
See you at your Virtual Trade BRI meeting on June 22nd at 1:30pm.
Important LINKS (if the links in the BLUE highlighted section above don’t work)
For additional information UE 506 website – http://uelocal506.com
*Form 855 – http://uelocal506.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/855-GE-Wabtec-5-20-2.pdf
*Trade Handbook – https://www.uc.pa.gov/Documents/UCP%20Forms/ucp-11D.pdf
*UCP 11-D form – http://uelocal506.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/UCP-11-d-FORM-WABTEC-1.pdf
For technical difficulties – email Bev at firstname.lastname@example.org
TRADE BENEFITS RIGHTS INTERVIEWS (BRI)
JUNE 4, 2020
- Members impacted by the reduction in force to assure you receive the trade benefits you are entitled; you will need to sign up for a TRADE BRI. If you are participating in the Save a Job Program or are notified of a permeant lack of work, please follow these necessary steps.
- Step 1) Sign up here – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RRTradeBRIhttps://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RRTradeBRI
- Step 2) Fill out ONLY the highlighted sections of this document, FORM 8-55. Print, sign it and get it to the Union Hall.
Go to http://uelocal506.com/http://uelocal506.com/tra-forms-pdf-downloads/ and download the pdf to print form. If you don’t have access to a computer or printer the forms will be available for pickup at the Union Hall. This is how you will get your Trade Determination under Petition # 93917
- Step 3) Make sure you read over the Trade handbook found here – ucp-11D
- Step 4) You will also need to PRINT and SIGN the ucp-11D form that states you have received and read the UCP-!!-D UCP 11-d FORM WABTEC (1) trade manual (link for manual above) These forms are also available at http://uelocal506.com/tra-forms-pdf-downloads/ to download pdf print. If you don’t have access to a computer or printer the forms will be available for pickup at the Union Hall.
- Step 5) Once you fill out the SURVEY Above, you will get an INVITE to a Virtual TRADE BRI meeting. Make sure when you get the Invite via Emails, that you check to see if you can use the link either on your phone or computer. Best way to do that… is before your virtual meeting you check the link, and download the Skype APP or you can use the web browser link you get. It’s best to be able to “see” the presentation on the screen.
For members who do not have a smartphone or computer available the Union will have a computer accessible to members for scheduled use.
- For technical difficulties – email Bev at email@example.com
BULLETIN 4/8/20 UNEMPLOYMENT ISSUES
If members are having issues with unemployment please go to the following links and submit a request for assistance with the details of your concern. We have received dozens of phone calls regarding issues with filing biweekly claims, not receiving PIN numbers and questions that require guidance from a Labor & Industry representative. Under normal circumstances, we would assist members on a case by case basis. Due to the volume of unemployment applicants, our normal channels for assistance are not available. Submissions are answered in the order they are received. Please resist the urge to submit multiple inquiries. This will only back up the system and delay response. Be patient and be sure to thank the UC representative for their efforts during this difficult time.
TO SUBMIT YOUR REQUEST FOR UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE, CLICK HERE:
These are difficult times, and we greatly appreciate your patience as we work through this crisis. As Wabtec continues production during the COVID-19 outbreak, we are doing what Unions were formed to do, even under the threat of a global pandemic: fight to improve working conditions. We are in unchartered waters, but we went to the Company to bargain the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and, this morning, the Executive Board approved an agreement through April 24, which we hope will provide some guidance for you. You can read the full agreement if you click on the link below this BULLETIN.
Although this agreement—like all negotiations—doesn’t offer all that we proposed, UE Locals 506 and 618 worked toward an agreement that ensures that our members have clearer guide rails during this period of great uncertainty. IMPORTANT NOTE: The Union’s position remains unchanged: Wabtec’s continued production of locomotives and parts that are not essential and necessary to keep our Nation’s railroads moving is beyond the spirit of Governor Wolf’s waiver and the Homeland Security directive on life-sustaining jobs critical to our Nations infrastructure.
To date, we have not received a response form the Governor. You can read our latest request to Governor Wolf if you click on the link below this BULLETIN on www.uelocal506.com. County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper and State Representative Ryan Bizzaro have acted—standing up for the health and welfare of our members, our families and our communities. If you get a chance, send them a note of thanks via your social media or email.
We understand the stress of this rapidly evolving public health crisis is real, but we must all do our best to support one another. If you or someone in your family are feeling anxious or overwhelmed by COVID-19 — you are not alone. It is okay to reach out for help. If you need someone to talk to, text PA to 741-741. It’s free, confidential and available 24/7.
The ability of Wabtec to provide proper safety measures may come down to supplies. If you are in an area and are running out of soap in the bathrooms, hand sanitizer, disinfectant or proper PPE immediately notify your supervisor and safety coordinator. Understand what you can do to stay safe by taking a minute to educate yourself about effective prevention methods—CLICK HERE https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.htmlhttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html
To read the most up-to-the-minute available information regarding UC eligibility CLICK HERE: https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/covid19.aspxhttps://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/covid19.aspx
As per the PA Department of Labor & Industry, please see the following information on two recent problems constituents are experiencing:
- The Unemployment Compensation mainframe is experiencing technical difficulties at this time.
- Claimants can still file INITIAL CLAIMS but BIWEEKLY CLAIMS cannot be accepted.
- The issue is being addressed and you will be notified when it is resolved.Claimants will not lose eligibility for any weeks as a result of not being able to file.
- Claimants who have tried to file bi-weekly claims today have received the following notification:
- “You have a claim established, but it is currently inactive”Claimants should IGNORE the message to call the UC service center to provide additional information
- This issue is being handled internally – claims will be automatically released from inactive status.
- Claimants should continue to attempt to file their biweekly claims daily until the claim is processed.
- Claimants will not lose eligibility for any weeks as a result of not being able to file.
- Wabtec’s reckless decision to ramp production back up during this COVID-19 crisis is causing UE Locals 506 and 618 to ensure that our members’ health and well-being are protected more than ever. We understand the anxiety these corporate choices are generating for you and your families—rest assured we have your back!
We are following the PA Department of Health @PAHealthDept on Twitter and @GovernorWolf on Facebook as the most direct source of factual, up-to-the-minute information, and encourage you to access these government resources.
- We understand that the stress that this rapidly evolving public health crisis is real, but we must all do our best to stay cool and follow the rules. If you or someone in your family are feeling anxious or overwhelmed by COVID-19 — you are not alone. It is okay to reach out for help. If you need someone to talk to, text PA to 741-741. It’s free, confidential and available 24/7.
We will continue to insist Wabtec does its part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by following the CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines put in place to equip employers to limit exposure to their employees. Our position is clear: Wabtec ramping production of international parts back up is beyond the spirit of Governor Wolf’s waiver and the Homeland Security directive on life-sustaining jobs.
- Governor Wolf’s Waiver: In-person work at a business site is only to be performed on the most limited basis possible to deliver the service or goods of your life-sustaining business.
- DHS Guidance: to support the Nation’s critical infrastructure. We recognize that State, local, tribal, and territorial governments are ultimately in charge of implementing and executing response activities in communities under their jurisdiction, while the Federal Government is in a supporting role.
- To date, the Governor has not acted. You can read our latest request to Governor Wolf if you click on the link below this BULLETIN on www.uelocal506.com.www.uelocal506.com
- In light of the company’s relentless drive to ramp up production to fill international locomotive orders, we have ramped up our work to protect you.
- Daily calls with Safety Coordinators and Plant Managers to ensure the Company’s plan is implemented,
- Identify concerns and discussing methods to avoid exposure,
- Insisting the Company follows the proper procedures and the CDC guidelines to keep everyone protected from unnecessary spread, and
- Provide necessary PPE and supplies to protect every single person.
- In a 4.5 million square foot facility to eliminate the possibility of contamination will be next to impossible, which is why we will continue to insist the company only allow the necessary and essential operations to continue, complying with Governor Wolfs directive and DHS guidance to support the Nation’s critical infrastructure,
The COVID-19 virus does not discriminate, brothers and sisters. White-collar or blue, every employee working must commit to doing everything in their power to limit exposure and mitigate the spread. The ability to responsibly adhere may come down to supplies. If you are in an area and are running out of soap in the bathrooms, hand sanitizer, disinfectant or proper PPE immediately notify your supervisor and safety coordinator. Understand what you can do to stay safe by taking a minute to educate yourself about effective prevention methods—CLICK HERE https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.htmlhttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html
- On Monday, March 30, the Company will be implementing badge and temperature scans at the East & West Gates in an attempt to mitigate unnecessary exposure. The East Gate will be opening at 5:30 am and the West Gate will be open 24/7. The North Gate will be closed until further notice.
UE Locals 506 and 618 met with the Company Thursday and Friday to bargain the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. We will update you once an agreement is met. We understand member’s concerns about returning to work. We would like to give you a direct answer and clear instructions on how to proceed. This is an unprecedented and unique situation, and as a union, we would normally provide clear direction/guidance. As frustrating as this is, we still cannot give members blanket answers on unemployment eligibility.
- At this point, reporting to work on Monday is a personal decision. Every individual has a unique situation and each member’s eligibility will be determined by the State. One thing that is clear — if you read the Wabtec communication regarding attendance (below) — you cannot be fired for not coming to work for any reasons stated by the Company, and if you follow their call-off procedure.
- To read the most up-to-the-minute available information regarding UC eligibility CLICK HERE: https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/covid19.aspxhttps://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/covid19.aspx
All members should read Wabtec’s communication (below) regarding time and attendance.
- Wabtec March 12, 2020
Effective March 13, 2020 -At Wabtec Corporation the safety of our employees is always paramount. With the rise of coronavirus disease (also referred to as COVID-19) in the United States, the Company wants to ensure that all employees feel comfortable both with coming into work or staying home if there is a risk that they will spread or contract the disease. Effective March 13, 2020 -April 12, 2020 employees who call off at least one hour before their scheduled start time will not be assessed attendance points and will not be required to use their paid time off if they choose not to. In addition, if an employee is at work and needs to leave because they are ill the same will apply. As a reminder, the call-off number is (814)875-4000.
- COVID 19 BULLETIN
We are sharing our current communications with the Governor’s office in an effort to keep you in the loop as we await the Governor’s response. Please read the attached letters to learn about what we know right now, and what we need to know.
- We do not believe that Wabtec calling all employees back to work is in line with what Governor Wolf’s waiver allows. We have made it abundantly clear that we are not trying to hinder operations. We support the operations of Wabtec—our employer and livelihood—and the production of renewal parts to provide railroads to move life-sustaining supplies during this global pandemic.
- The Company does not have the necessary sanitizing supplies, PPE or safety protocols in place to provide a safe, sanitized properly equipped working environment. If the company proceeds with recalling employees not working on life-sustaining parts they are unnecessarily putting our members, their families and our community efforts to mitigate the spread of Covid -19 in jeopardy.
- We understand member’s concerns with returning to work and would like to give you a direct answer of how to proceed. Without proper guidance from the governor’s office, it is difficult at this time to provide that. At this point, it is a personal decision. We remind all members of Wabtec’s previous communications regarding time and attendance.
Wabtec March 12, 2020
- Effective March 13, 2020 -At Wabtec Corporation the safety of our employees is always paramount. With the rise of coronavirus disease (also referred to as COVID-19) in the United States, the Company wants to ensure that all employees feel comfortable both with coming into work or staying home if there is a risk that they will spread or contract the disease. Effective March 13, 2020 -April 12, 2020 employees who call off at least one hour before their scheduled start time will not be assessed attendance points and will not be required to use their paid time off if they choose not to. In addition, if an employee is at work and needs to leave because of they are ill the same will apply. As a reminder, the call-off number is (814)875-4000.
On March 24, 2020, the union met with the company to discuss safety for workers who are working due to the waiver granted by Governor Tom Wolf. The company has communicated the employees currently working are designated as “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” providing renewal parts that are necessary to move the nation’s critical supplies that are vital to the nation’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak. The union has requested the Governor’s Office provide the scope of work the exemptions Wabtec was granted by the waiver. We have also requested the state provide a contact to enforce compliance. The Unions request is to ensure all employees, their families and our community are not subjected to unnecessary risk. We continue to receive complaints the company continues to grant non-essential workers, contractors, and vendors access to the facility. We have also received complaints that workers are performing work for new international orders. The local addressed these concerns with the company and demanded they comply to limit exposure. The following list represents just a few of the risks, safety measures and ideas the group discussed to ensure we can all work safely during this pandemic and avoid pulling resources from hospitals where supplies are in high demand and low supply.
- • Enforce critically needed employees only
• Increase Communications
• Adequate sanitizer and disinfectant supply
• Point of contact for supplies
• Single point entry to buildings / with temperature scans
• Propping all interior doors to eliminate unnecessary contact
• Develop response protocol for employees who test positive
• Checklist and audit of supplies and sanitation performed prior to and during
• Identifying multiple suppliers for PPE and alternative solutions to avoid depleting medical stock.
• Limiting touchpoints
• Truck drivers’ delivery protocol
• Cushman and Kubota restrictions
• Color-coded cleaning supplies to eliminate cross contamination between bathrooms and breakrooms
• Single point of contact for cleaning concerns. Increase cleaning frequency in areas working.
• Mobile hand washing stations
The union, safety coordinators, senior plant manager, plant managers, union relations, EHS and plant protection participated in the discussion.
- The union is also working on a schedule with union relations and the Wabtec attorneys for effects bargaining. We will continue to keep you informed as we proceed and new information becomes available. We thank everyone for their patience during this unprecedented time. We encourage everyone to adhere to County Executive Kathy Dalkemper stay at home order when not at work. This is the only way we can truly mitigate the spread of Covid -19. Please continue to monitor uelocal506.com for updates.
Stay safe. Stay Healthy.
The following communication was the latest Erie Plant Update from Joe Cavalier.
Erie Team, in an effort to keep you informed on everything concerning COVID-19 we have answered some of the frequently asked questions below.
What are we doing to continue to keep employees safe at the Erie site?
The company has stood-up a cross functional safety team to receive feedback on operations and provide recommendations for improvements to be implemented to further enhance safety at the site. There is a running list of projects with assigned owners that are working to execute different safety initiatives.
We will continue to monitor employees’ symptoms and follow CDC guidelines by sending employees home to self-quarantined and seek medical care. This does not mean that the employee has COVID – 19, but they may have been in contact with someone that has been confirmed or suspected of having COVID – 19.
- What can we do about incoming truckdrivers to prevent possible contamination?
A team is working to come up with a standard process for limiting the exposure of interaction between truckdrivers and our employees. Solutions being implemented include:
• Portable toilets at the visitor’s gate
• Signage at the loading docks
• Quarantine areas at the loading docks
• Not requiring signatures for UPS and FEDEX deliveries
- Are we allowing visitors into the plant?
Except for individuals supporting life-sustaining activities, all visitors have been restricted at the Erie site.
What is our current site risk level?
The current status of the Erie site is minor. Minor is defined by a transmission has been isolated or controlled within the region.
- There was a recent announcement in Erie regarding a “shelter in place” order. What does that mean for employees at the Erie site?
According to the stay at home guidance (shelter in place) by Governor Wolf, employees may still report to work for life sustaining business activities. For those that must travel to the plant and are concerned about getting stopped, please print the attached document explaining the exemption. For more information visit https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/03.23.20-Stay-At-Home-Order-Guidance.pdfhttps://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/03.23.20-Stay-At-Home-Order-Guidance.pdf
Allowable essential travel also includes:
• Care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disability or other vulnerable persons
• Travel to or return to a place of residence
• Travel required by law enforcement or court order
• Allowable individual activities include:
o Tasks to maintain health and safety to include:
Obtaining medical supplies
Obtaining Food / groceries
Visiting health care professionals
Obtaining supplies to work from home
Necessary supplies for themselves or family
We will continue to keep you updated as information becomes available to us. For more information visit the internal coronavirus website for company-wide updates and the In Case of Crisis app for Erie Site updates.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our employees around the world, we wanted to make you aware of some healthcare benefits available if you become sick or need remote health assistance.
All COVID-19 testing is covered at 100%, when recommended by a medical professional. If you have any plan concerns or questions, please contact the Highmark Concierge at 1-833-227-9370. The contact information is also on the back of your Highmark ID card.
We are waiving all Teladoc co-payments for the next 90 days for all virtual visits, regardless of whether the visit is related to the diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19. Teladoc provides you and your eligible dependents with 24/7/365 access to U.S. board-certified physicians. In addition to primary care physicians, Teladoc gives you access to specialists for behavioral health and dermatology.
We encourage all members to complete their registration and medical history through the Teladoc website for Wabtec Highmark members, before you need to request a visit. Once you have registered, download the Teladoc app and turn on all notifications. Provide both email and phone number when requesting a visit, which will allow for optimal communications. For fastest service, Teladoc suggests that members requesting an appointment for COVID-19 related concerns, request a “first available” appointment that is voice only.
Teladoc has added additional capacity to their network, but wait times are longer than usual and will fluctuate depending on the time of day and geographic location.
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The LifeWorks Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers confidential counseling and guidance for personal problems. This benefit is available to you, all immediate family members and all individuals living in your household. It is offered to all employees, even if you waive medical coverage. You and your family may use this service for up to five sessions per issue, per year at no cost. The EAP offers confidential counseling and guidance for dealing with a personal problem, such as:
• Family problems
• Relationship concerns
• Alcohol/drug abuse
• Elder care
• Budget and financial concerns
• Parenting problems
• Job-related issues
• Legal issues
To obtain assistance, call 1-877-234-5151 (English) or 1-888-732-9020 (Spanish), or access their website at www.lifeworks.comwww.lifeworks.com. Your username and password are both wabtec. Trained counselors are available 24 hours a day. The counselor helps you to accurately identify the problem, discuss possible solutions and determine if you need additional resources. If no counselors are in your area, or if you need immediate assistance, counseling can be conducted over the phone. The information you discuss is completely confidential. Wabtec does not receive any details of the call.
CVS Caremark is waiving early refill limits on 30-day prescriptions for maintenance medications at any in-network pharmacy, which allows members to fill maintenance medication prescriptions ahead of their normal fill schedule and maintain an adequate supply of medication on hand.
We have also directed CVS Caremark to also allow members to refill their maintenance medications ahead of schedule if requested. We strongly recommend you take action now to refill eligible maintenance prescriptions for 90-day supplies. You or your pharmacist may call 1-877-347-7444 to request an override for a 90-day supply prescription.
CVS Pharmacy has also waived charges for home delivery of all prescription medications, if available in your area. You also have the option of home delivery from CVS Caremark Mail Service pharmacy with no delivery cost.
The company has been given a waiver that allows the business to operate and supply renewal parts to support the railroads. We are requesting the details of the waiver from the Governor’s Office to understand the scope and ensure compliance. The company is working on compiling a list of areas they feel are essential and identify the workers not being temporarily laid off. We are also preparing to engage in effects bargaining over the continued operation of the facility and the impact on our members.
The membership, their families and our community’s health remain our primary focus. We have received multiple reports from employees regarding the lack of PPE and sanitation supplies. The union demands the company act responsibly and provide all proper PPE, sanitization, and implementation of all precautions necessary to protect its employees. The situation is fluid and the company has communicated they are doing their best to comply. Our concern is that supplies are in high demand and in low supply. The intent to comply is not good enough considering the severity of the situation. We will continue to provide updates as more information is provided.
Please continue to monitor uelocal506.com for updates.
ERIE, March 23 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, released the following statement today calling on Wabtec to adhere to CDC guidelines and do their part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“The decision by Wabtec to remain open without properly protecting its workforce during this pandemic shows a lack of judgement and general disregard for its employees and our greater Erie community, as we all work together to limit the spread of COVID-19. Employee health, proper workplace disinfecting per the CDC guidelines, and social distancing should be fundamental concerns facing each and every business across Pennsylvania, particularly as non-life-sustaining entities. My office has received constituent calls from management and hourly employees about a lack of sanitizing protocols that could facilitate unnecessary spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“While the PA Governor’s office has granted a waiver to Wabtec, with the health of our community in mind, I am calling Wabtec officials to take efforts to test every employee that arrives to work at the Erie County plant, sanitize the facility per CDC guidelines, and take the necessary steps to prepare the facility for employees to return to work safely (per CDC guidelines) and without anxiety of unnecessary exposure to them and their community. This virus outbreak is not a time for corporate America to put profits above people. These are our neighbors and families, and we must consider the dramatic spread that could unnecessarily be happening at this facility.”
March 21, 2020
Representatives and members of UE Local 506 and UE Local 618 wait for answers regarding the Covid-19 business shutdown. Wabtec has communicated that they have been in discussions with Governor Wolf’s Office regarding his directive to close all non-life sustaining businesses and employees have been directed to report to work as scheduled Sunday and Monday. We have not received any further information currently on the matter from Wabtec. The company did state that they “will share such clarification from the Governors office with you once it is received”. The following press release from Governor Wolf was published yesterday regarding waivers and clarity. We are still uncertain if there have been changes since the release. We will keep you updated with any information that is provided regarding the situation. We appreciate your patience during these unprecedented times.
Harrisburg, PA – Due to the high volume of waiver requests, the Wolf Administration is delaying enforcement of Governor Tom Wolf’s order and the Secretary of Health’s order that all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania must close their physical locations to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Per Governor Wolf’s and Dr. Levine’s orders, businesses that were non-life sustaining were ordered to close their physical locations on March 19, at 8:00 PM. This order stands, only the enforcement timing will change and become effective on Monday, March 23, at 8:00 AM.
Those businesses requesting clarification on whether they are defined as life-sustaining should check this list, email the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) customer service resource account at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH and select option 1 to reach DCED staff. For businesses that determine from the list that they are non-life sustaining, but would like to seek a waiver, there is an online waiver application.
When a business completes a waiver form, a team of professionals at DCED will review each request and respond based on the guiding principle of balancing public safety while ensuring the continued delivery of critical infrastructure services and functions. Those requesting a waiver will be notified via email if their operations may re-open. Businesses applying for a waiver must remain closed until a decision is made about their application.
DCED offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to http://dced.pa.gov/resourceshttp://dced.pa.gov/resources as they become available. Yesterday, Governor Wolf announced the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should follow www.governor.pa.govwww.governor.pa.gov and www.doh.pa.gov.
The PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has established a new resource account where businesses and staff can submit questions on exemptions to the closure of physical locations for non-life-sustaining businesses in the Commonwealth.
Questions about exemptions may be sent to: email@example.com@pa.gov
At least initially, the e-mail address will be used to expedite answers to whether businesses on the non-life-sustaining list of closures are exempt and may continue to operate. Other exemption questions are, however, welcome.
For more COVID-19 business information, DCED has set up a web site that continually will be updated as information becomes available: https://dced.pa.gov/resources/
Please distribute to members and have them inquire .
The Union is waiting on Wabtec’s plan to comply with Governor Tom Wolf’s directive to close all non-life-sustaining businesses to prevent the spread of Covid -19. We appreciate everyone’s patience during these uncertain times. The Union will continue to provide updates and information as it becomes available. Please respect the situation and comply with the guidelines in place to ensure your family and our community stays safe and healthy. It is with great hope that everyone does their part to flatten the curve of Covid-19 from spreading so we can return to work as soon as possible. If you are not receiving the Unions text blasts and would like to please text 814-402-8602.Please continue to monitor uelocal506.com for updates.
It is impossible to think or talk about anything today outside of COVID-19. While we are all doing our part to limit the spread of the virus, we want you to know that we are on your side and we will continue to communicate with you as any new information becomes available. We are following the PA Department of Health @PAHealthDept on Twitter and @GovernorWolf on Facebook as the most direct source of factual, up-to-the-minute information, and encourage you to access these government resources.
We understand the stress that this rapidly evolving public health crisis is real, but we must all do our best to remain calm and follow the guidelines. If you or someone in your family are feeling anxious or overwhelmed by COVID-19 — you are not alone. It is okay to reach out for help. If you need someone to talk to, text PA to 741-741. It’s free, confidential and available 24/7.
Currently, the Erie Wabtec facility remains a low risk or what is classified as a “negligible” site. We continue to monitor this closely and will quickly communicate any change in status directly to you. As we see the number of positive tests increase across the region, we must all do our part to take the necessary precautions in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
Governor Wolf is taking decisive measures to prevent the Covid-19 virus from spreading including the closure of non-critical business on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. As you know, our industry is considered an essential service or sector identified by the government and will remain operational. The Governor is relying on businesses to follow all precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. As individuals, it is crucial that we all continue to do our part to protect ourselves, our families, and, by extension, our community.
With our members’ health in mind, the Executive Board discussed concerns that hand sanitizer is not available and considered all precautions that could be taken to support our members who are doing their part to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Yesterday, the lack of access to hand sanitizer was raised during the Wabtec “all hands” conference call. The company is addressing the issue. In the meantime, and per the CDC, washing your hands regularly is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself.
We encourage every employee to read and follow the CDC, OSHA and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines on how to protect yourself.
CDC, OSHA, PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH GUIDELINES
• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 60 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
• Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
• Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
• Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.
• For more information go to
The discussions with the Executive board resulted in several additional measures that we think the company should consider to further mitigate exposure. We will request that the company implement the following during this public health crisis:
• T-low all non-essential employees and require anyone who can work from home to do so.
• Provide all employees with disinfectant spray and wipes and provide additional time to wipe down tools and machines at shift changes.
• Facilitate 6’0” of separation between employees.
• Schedule staggered breaks.
• Shift schedules to straight eight hours.
• Request volunteers to work over 3 shifts to reduce exposure.
• Implement rolling lack of works at 50% of the workforce.
NOTE: Effective March 13, 2020 -April 12, 2020 employees who call off at least one hour before their scheduled start time will not be assessed attendance points and will not be required to use their paid time off if they choose not to. In addition, if an employee is at work and needs to leave because they are ill the same will apply. As a reminder, the call-off number is (814)875-4000.
As the number of Coronavirus cases continues to surge the Union and Company are in daily contact discussing concerns and solutions. The Erie facility is considered low risk currently and will be monitored closely for a change in status. The Company has indicated that they are implementing measures to address the need to limit unnecessary contact and preventing the spread of the virus.
Some precaution’s that are being taken currently:
• Smaller groups for muster meetings.
• Staggering break time.
• No more than two people at break tables, eating outside common areas.
• Increased GEI cleaning schedules for the facility and shared equipment
You should follow these precautions to help prevent the spread:
• Stay home if you are sick. If you are sick call Lincoln Financial at
1-844-829-5509 to open a short-term disability claim.
NOTE: Effective March 13, 2020 -April 12, 2020 employees who call off at least one hour before their scheduled start time will not be assessed attendance points and will not be required to use their paid time off if they choose not to. In addition, if an employee is at work and needs to leave because they are ill the same will apply. As a reminder the call-off number is (814)875-4000.
• If people are visibly sick, they are being directed to see their doctors.
• If people are feeling ill, and have any of these symptoms’ coughs, shortness of breath or fever they should call (814)875-2034 before entering the Medical Center. One of the staff will meet you at the door
• Stop Shaking hands when saying hello or greeting other people.
• Distance Yourself at least 6 feet away from others as much as possible. There should be no more than 2 people per lunch table to maintain a 6-foot distance.
• Reduce social interaction.
• Stay In your designated work area to limit interaction.
• Wash Your hands often with soap and water for at least 60 seconds.
• Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer prior to entering break rooms to avoid contamination.
• Disinfect your cell phone and PPE on a regular basis
• Cover Your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow/sleeve when coughing or
• Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Clean Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The company has created a coronavirus website to keep employees informed. Employees who don’t have Wabtec Email can access the site by using the email Wabtecuser@watec.com and passwordWab@12345.
Please continue to monitor uelocal506.com for updates.
Workers’ Compensation Services
COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Guidance
On March 6, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf issued an emergency disaster declaration throughout the commonwealth due to the new coronavirus known as COVID-19.
Because Pennsylvanians might be exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace, we are providing important Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation guidance regarding filing options and claims.
Two Filing Options for COVID-19
Option 1: An employee can file a typical “disease-as-injury” workers’ compensation claim, which would require the employee to provide medical evidence that they were exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace. Employees must provide this type of evidence for all injury-related claims.
Option 2: An employee could file an “occupational disease” workers’ compensation claim, which would require showing that COVID-19 is occurring more in the employee’s industry or occupation than in the general population, such as the healthcare industry.
Visit the SWIF page for information on processing COVID-19 Claims.
Please click Blue link below for more information
March Membership Meetings Cancelled
In order to comply with CDC guidance regarding mass gatherings, the Union is canceling March, Membership meetings. The special election for Sergeant at Arms will be postponed until further notice. We will continue to keep members informed through bulletins in the shop, online or text blast if necessary.
All nonessential travel for the National, Regional, and Local Union have also been suspended until further notice. Regional meetings and Labor Notes conference have been suspended until further notice.
The Officers and Executive Board encourages everyone to stay safe and follow the guidelines as directed. Go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html for additional information.
Michael T. Ferritto
UE Local 506
3923 Main Street
P (814) 899-3108
Those interested in running for this position must come to the union hall to place their name or the name of a qualified member during the first (3) regularly scheduled working days, January 2nd, 3rd and 6th during normal business hours 7AM – 4PM.
Members in good standing nominating themselves will sign an acceptance form and will be given a questionnaire that must be returned no later than two (2) scheduled working days from end of nominating period. Those nominating other members will be given acceptance/rejection forms along with a questionnaire and will be responsible to give this material to the proposed candidate.
Members in good standing nominating members other than themselves will be issued an acceptance/rejection form along with a questionnaire and will be responsible for transferring such materials to the proposed candidate to be received at the Union Hall an accordance with the above guidelines.
Any member who has been a steward or an alternate steward for at least one (1) year can run for this position as long as he/she is permanently working in the division.
Divisional Chief Steward elections will be held on Tuesday, January 28th, 2020.
Nominations must be in no later than 4PM January 6th. Acceptance forms and questionnaires must be returned to the Union Hall no later than 4PM January 8th.
When: November 25, 2019, 9:00AM and December 9, 2019, 9:00 AM
Where: UE Local 506, 3923 Main Street
The Union has scheduled benefits meetings with Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Rapid Response for November 25, 2019, at 9 AM and December 9, 2019 at 9 AM. Pennsylvania CareerLink, PA Unemployment and other agencies will provide Benefits Rights Interviews (BRI’s) for trade benefits and very important information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Benefit Rights Interviews (BRI’s) will are required to be eligible for Trade Benefits. Members who missed the November 11th, meeting are encouraged to attend the November 25th, meeting. Spouses are welcome to attend these meetings.
As Wabtec initiates permanent layoffs, we will do our best to communicate with you and ensure every member affected receives the benefits that they are entitled to. The disappointing news that Wabtec is moving forward with permanent layoffs, is coupled with a troubling decision to not continue temporary lack of works in this situation.
We continue to urge the Company to consider each employee as they issue layoffs. This approach has served affected families in the past, as well as labor/management relations. Here are some of the obstacles we are facing:
- These layoffs are permanent, as opposed to temporary.
- Many of the affected employees may not be eligible for unemployment compensation which could impact their TRA entitlement
- We have been working with the State to identify those individuals based on service in affected jobs, but because the company has not provided the State with 2019 second-quarter earnings, our efforts have been rendered useless. Without these reports, it’s impossible to verify and prepare for those who will be laid off and not eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.
- The Union has raised these concerns with the company repeatedly, and continue to urge them to take employees and their families into consideration before they are impacted.
In the meantime, the Union has scheduled a benefits session with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Rapid Response meeting for November 18, 2019, at 9 am. Pennsylvania CareerLink, PA Unemployment and other agencies will provide benefits rights interviews, information on trade benefits and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Representatives will provide members with information about all benefits available to them. Benefit Rights Interviews (BRI’s) will be conducted during this meeting and are required to be eligible for Trade benefits.
As the union has been communicating for the past three months, potential layoffs have become a reality. Yesterday, UE Local 506 was provided notice of a permanent lack of work by Wabtec Union Relations. The Local is working with the Wabtec to identify potential opportunities to mitigate the impact on members. In addition to encouraging the company to filter work in from other facilities, the union has suggested Wabtec “ask from the top and force from the bottom.” This would allow higher service members to voluntarily take a layoff in lieu of lower service members being forced. Volunteers would be afforded contractual IEA lump sum payment and protected benefits with the understanding that they would forgo recall rights. Participants would also be eligible for their 2020, 3% annual and 10% one-time 401k contributions. This option would also qualify volunteers for UC benefits and TAA. The company has stated that the expense of IEA benefits for higher service employees are the greatest concern. The Union will continue to encourage the business to consider both options+.
The Union is also meeting with NWPA Rapid Response this afternoon to prepare for the event. Our goal will be to ensure any member impacted will be afforded all benefits available.
Considering the circumstances, the Members Involvement Meetings scheduled for October 23, 2019 will be postponed until a later date. We will communicate when the meeting will take place when we determine the appropriate time to reschedule.
The following list displays the estimated impact by classification provided by the company on October 21, 2019.
Assembly Technician 1
Assembly Technician 2
Weld Technician 1
Weld Technician 2
(June 12, 2019) ERIE, PA—The members of UE Locals 506 and 618 ratified the first four-year contract agreement with their new employer, Wabtec. The ratification comes on the back of 128 days of negotiations. This contract reaches an agreement on terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, and health and safety policies.
“The UE workers building Wabtec locomotives are the best in the world,” said Scott Slawson, UE Local 506 President. “The grit and discipline of this workforce has been on display throughout this difficult process, but there is no doubt that these workers will prove their worth with their new employer as they have for generations.
“From day one of this process, our members have been committed to protecting a healthy and safe work environment, while supporting our families and local economy—this agreement sets a course that will provide Wabtec an opportunity to grow and succeed in Erie County.”
About UE Local 506
“UE” is the abbreviation for United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, a democratic national union representing workers in a wide variety of sectors. UE Local 506, which represents 1,700 hourly workers at the Wabtec plant in Lawrence Park, Pennsylvania, is a rank-and-file-union whose members set the policies of the union and make all of the decisions of importance in a democratic and collective manner. UE Local 506 has represented GE workers since 1937. To learn more about UE Local 506 visit www.uelocal506.com.
Click link to download application form.
After 128 days of negotiations, the UE bargaining committee of UE Locals 506 and 618 have reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract with Wabtec. This tentative agreement is being recommended by the Bargaining Committee to our Board and the 1,700 members of UE Local 506 and 618 for ratification.
On Tuesday, June 11, we will hold three special membership meetings at the Bayfront Convention Center at 7:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 3:30 p.m. to explain all of the details of the agreement. Ratification votes will take place at the Union Hall from 5:30 a.m.- 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12. Please make plans to attend, as your voice matters.
The tentative contract reaches an agreement on terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, and health and safety policies. The contract agreement includes the following:
- Maintain current wage rates for existing Wabtec employees.
- Ten-year progression to full wage rates for new hire employees.
- A commitment for new work equivalent to 100 full-time employees by the end of the contract.
- Continuation of voluntary overtime.
- Five-year recall rights.
- Former GE Transportation employees who were on the recall list will receive preferential placement for
- new hire employment with the restoration of seniority.
- Overtime premium pay after eight hours / double-time after 12 hours.
- Standard Monday-Friday work week.
- Up to six weeks of paid vacation, based upon years of service.
- Up to 5 paid personal days, based on service.
- Twelve paid holidays.
- Improved health and welfare benefits, including medical, dental, vision, life and disability benefits.
- Retirement (401K) plan with a 3% Company contribution plus an additional 3% matching contribution.
- Maintained Income Extension Aid (IEA).
- Protected benefits for 26-weeks.
- Four-year agreement.
As you all know, we area rank-and-file-union whose members set the policies of the union and make all of the decisions of importance in a democratic and collective manner. Your ratification of this tentative contract is an important step in the process, as we all stand should-to-shoulder with our union brothers and sisters.
We are proud of this union’s resolve to stand up for the entire community and the next generation of highly skilled workers who will continue to support the middle-class economy of the Erie Region.
In its communications to Erie Workers, Wabtec has given a one-sided presentation that doesn’t give a full explanation of how their contract proposals will negatively affect all Erie workers over a four-year contract. Here are some of the company’s proposals and how they will negatively affect all Erie workers:
- Two-Tier Wages – The company’s proposal will slash the average wage by $12.16 per hour, saving the company more than $51 million over a four-year contract. The company has not given the Union an economic justification for this huge wage reduction outside of its ongoing threats. Current Erie workers, who are laid off and exhaust their recall rights, and are rehired by the company, will be hired at the two-tier wage rates.
- Job Classifications – The company’s proposal consolidates the current 33 job codes down to 21 new job classifications, endangering the safety of Erie workers. The company’s proposal will also cause current Erie workers in ten job codes to lose pay if they move for any reason after the first year.
- Management Rights – The company will be able to do just about anything it wants, without negotiating with the union, including “the unqualified right to establish and enforce minimum standards of production and quality for all operations and job functions in the Erie Plant. In the event an employee’s production or quality is below such standard, the Company reserves the right to transfer or discharge the employee and replace such employee with some other employee who can maintain minimum standard production.”
- Subcontracting – The company shall have the unlimited right to subcontract…any work at the Erie Plant that has previously been performed by subcontractors.” In other words, the company will be able to subcontract everything and not bargain with the Union over its decision.
- Temporary Workers – The company “will have the unqualified right to utilize temporary workers to perform production and maintenance work during the term of this Agreement provided there are no qualified bargaining unit employees on layoff and the temporary workers do not exceed ten percent (10%) of the bargaining unit workforce.” Why will the company want to hire new employees if it can use temporary workers?
- Layoff and Recall – The company’s proposal will greatly limit seniority rights for bumping and recall purposes. Recall rights are also capped at three (3) years for employees with more than twenty years of service; two (2) years for employees with ten or more years of service; and one (1) year for employees with less than ten years of service.
- Job Vacancies – Seniority will be the last determining factor taken into consideration for job bidding. In other words, the company will be able to pick who they want for job vacancies.
- Hours of Work – The company’s proposal would permit the company to implement continuous operations schedules, including (12) hour shifts, on any manufacturing, maintenance or warehousing operations.
- Vacations – Vacation eligibility is capped at five (5) weeks, except for employees who currently have six (6) weeks.
- Personal Illness Pay – Employees will only be eligible for twenty-four (24) hours of personal illness pay per calendar year, which may not be carried over from year to year. Any personal illness pay not used in the calendar year will be forfeited. Employees are expected to give 24 hours’ notice prior to utilizing personal illness pay and the company reserves the right to require medical documentation.
- Income Extension Aid (IEA) – The company rejected the Union’s proposal for IEA and has not proposed one-year of protected benefits. Laid-off employees will lose their health insurance benefits at the end of the month that they are laid off unless they pay the total costs of their health insurance benefits.
- Severance Benefits – The company’s proposal will greatly reduce the amount of severance benefits available for Erie workers in the event of a plant closing. The company’s proposal will limit the amount of benefits to one week for each year of completed service with the company, up to a maximum payment of twenty (20) weeks of severance allowance.
- Medical Leave – The company’s proposal will require employees to use their paid illness days and any accrued vacation for approved FMLA leaves of absence for any reason other than their own occupational or non-occupational illness or injury. In other words, if you have to take off to care for a sick family member, you will have to use your paid illness days and vacation time.
- Grievance and Arbitration Procedure – The company’s proposal is a greatly weakened procedure that undermines Erie workers’ protections and rights. The company is under no obligation to settle grievances and could force every grievance to costly arbitration, which they know the union will not be able to afford. The company’s proposal will also not permit the right to strike after exhausting the third step of the grievance procedure.
- Union Representatives – The company’s proposal will undermine the union’s organizational strength on the shop floor and limit the stewards’ ability to represent the members.
- Safety – The company is proposing to eliminate elected safety coordinators and replace them with bid positions, compromising the hugely successful safety program.
The Union has proposed a new highly competitive wage proposal which could save the company more than $130 million in reduced labor costs over the four-year contract while protecting current Erie workers’ wages and jobs. The Union’s proposal will also give new hires a path to the legacy wage rates. The proposal also includes job guarantees that the company must recall all laid-off GET employees in order of their seniority and create 400 new additional jobs over the four-year contract.
Due to the active support of the UE membership, the company withdrew several of their concessionary contract proposals this past week in negotiations, including mandatory overtime, reductions in overtime premium pay and an undefined work week. However, the company’s other new counter proposals on recall rights, personal illness time and vacation time are at reduced rates that our members had under the GE-UE National Agreement. The Union intends to offer counter proposals to address these shortcomings in upcoming negotiations.
Despite the Union repeatedly rejecting competitive wages, Wabtec is still insisting on lower, two-tier wage rates for new hires, including former GET employees who haven’t been recalled. Under the company’s proposal, current Erie workers, who are laid off and exhaust their recall rights, would be rehired as new workers under the lower, two-tier wage rates. The company has refused to offer a new wage proposal for current Erie workers since its first wage proposal when negotiations resumed in March. The company also rejected the Union’s proposal on Income Extension Aid (IEA) this week.
Even though the company paid out nearly $120 million in bonuses to GE and Wabtec executives after the merger, the company is demanding huge concessions that will negatively impact our members and our community. When asked by the Union why the company needs these concessions, the company’s answer was this is what they promised their Wall Street investors and large shareholders. Apparently, Wabtec wrote a check for GE Transportation that it expects our members to pay.
The Erie plant has been profitable under the terms of the GE-UE National Agreement, which Wabtec is seeking to destroy. Wabtec is realizing an additional $17 million in annual cost savings from the elimination of the defined benefit pension and retiree health insurance for Erie workers, which it refuses to acknowledge.
UE members are willing to work with Wabtec to bargain a fair contract that will keep the company profitable and good jobs in Erie, but as our members demonstrated earlier this year, we’re not willing to sell out future generations of Erie workers.
The next negotiation sessions are scheduled for May 20, 21, 23 and 24. The Union will continue to provide our members with updates. Your continued support will determine the outcome of these negotiations.
More info: “Like” UE Local 506 on Facebook or visit our website www.uelocal506.com
Representatives of UE Local 506, UE Local 618 and the UE National Union met with Wabtec’s negotiating committee during the week of April 22 – 25. The two sides continued to exchange proposals – both economic and non-economic, but there is little progress to report.
The company is insisting on lower, two-tier wages for new hires and laid off GET employees – if they’re recalled, without offering an economic reason for this demand and other than the threat that they can get the work done somewhere else.
New hires and laid off GET employees are not the only workers facing lower wages under the company’s economic proposals. Current employees’ wages could be reduced after one year, if they move for any reason – bidding, exercise bumping rights or recalled from a permanent layoff – under the company’s proposed lower Tier 1 wage rates. If current employees lose seniority for any reason, they would be rehired at the Tier 2 wage rates. In addition, current employees, who have the 10 percent shift differential, would lose the 10 percent shift differential if they move to 1st shift and then move back to an off-shift.
The company is still insisting on mandatory overtime. In addition, the company would reduce overtime premium pay by making overtime pay only for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a regular workweek. The company is proposing to eliminate the defined workweek, which is currently defined as Monday to Friday inclusive. In other words, the company could schedule you to work Tuesday to Saturday, or Wednesday to Sunday. The company is also proposing to have the ability to put any area of the plant on a continuous operations schedule.
The company is proposing to reduce our members’ paid time off by capping the amount of vacation an employee can earn to four weeks, unless you currently qualify for five weeks or six weeks of vacation. The company is also proposing eliminating Sick and Personal Pay. Any unused sick and personal pay will be paid out in the first regular payroll period in 2020.
The company’s Management Rights proposal would basically allow the company to do just about anything it wants at any time, including the “unqualified right to establish, modify and enforce minimum standards of production and quality for all operations and job functions in the Erie plant.” If an employee’s production or quality is below such standard, the company “reserves the right to transfer or discharge the employee and replace such employee with some other employee who can maintain minimum standard production.”
The company’s Union Representation proposal would greatly restrict the union’s ability to represent our members at work. The company is also insisting on maintaining its grievance and arbitration process and eliminating our right to strike, which will weaken our members’ rights and protections on the job.
As you can see, this is not just about two tiers.
The next negotiation sessions are scheduled for May 7, 13, 14, 15 and 17. The Union will continue to provide regular updates for our members. Your continued support will determine the outcome of these negotiations.
For more info: “Like” UE Local 506 on Facebook or visit our website: uelocal506.com
Negotiations are wrapped up until following the Easter holiday. Minor adjustments were discussed but no major agreements have been reached since our last Bulletin.
We continue to work toward reaching a multi-year contract agreement on behalf of our 1,700 members, their families and our communities. As always, each element is discussed with you during our membership meetings and the position of the membership is represented at the negotiating table. The Members Run this Union! Please join us on Thursday at your membership meeting.
Our negotiating team is working in earnest toward a transparent contract that secures a healthy wage, workplace and quality of life for all members of the highly skilled workforce acquired by Wabtec and responsible for quarter after quarter of record-setting profits GE and its shareholders. We remain willing to negotiate economic and non-economic elements of the contract, and to helping Wabtec negotiators understand the relative importance of each element.
Negotiations are complex and difficult, but we believe that there is a viable solution that maintains Wabtec’s competitiveness, and that both sides can come to a fair agreement that includes worker protections, safety and quality-of-life, as well as wages commensurate with the skill-level of advanced manufacturing workers.
Representatives of UE Local 506, UE Local 618 and the UE National Union met with Wabtec’s negotiating committee during the week of April 1 – 4. The two sides continued to exchange proposals – both non-economic and economic, including wages, job codes, job bidding, union representatives and stewards, paid time off, working hours, holidays and temporary transfers. Since the end of the strike/lockout we have met ten times, but the two sides still remain far apart on the issues that caused the strike/lockout. Negotiations will resume the week of April 9 – 11.
When we resume negotiations, we will have 56 days left to reach an agreement before the 90-day interim agreement expires on June 3rd. We have made it clear throughout negotiations that our members will not accept:
- Two tier wages
- Mandatory overtime
- Changes in overtime pay
- Changes to the work week
- Reductions in paid time off
- Weakening seniority rights
- Temporary workers
- A new grievance and arbitration procedure
- Undermining union representation
Wabtec knew what it was getting when it bought/merged with GE Transportation – a business which has consistently posted double-digit profit margins. With the elimination of the defined benefit pension and retiree health insurance, Wabtec is already realizing a $16 million annual savings. Wabtec doesn’t need any additional concessions from our members to make the Erie facility more “competitive.” Our members’ skills and experience in locomotive building are second to none and they should be compensated as such.
For more info: “Like” UE Local 506 on Facebook or visit our website: uelocal506.com
EFFECTS BARGAINING AGREEMENT
This Effects Bargaining Agreement is made and entered into this February 24, 2019, by and between the General Electric Company (“Company”) and the UE (“UE” or the “Union”).
W I T N E S S E T H:
WHEREAS, the Company has sold its GE Transportation business (“Transportation”) to Wabtec effective upon the date such transaction closes (the “Closing Date”), which is currently set for Monday, February 25, 2019;
WHEREAS, the Company and the Union have bargained fully and in good faith regarding the effects of the sale of the business on Transportation employees currently represented by the Union; and
WHEREAS, the Company and the Union have reached an agreement over such effects bargaining;
NOW THEREFORE IT IS AGREED:
This Effects Bargaining Agreement sets forth the full and complete agreement between the Company and the Union regarding the effects of the sale on employees represented by the Union. The Company and the Union agree that no further bargaining will be required on these or any other subjects that could have been raised in effects bargaining.
- The Company and the Union agree that this Effects Bargaining Agreement contains all benefits, terms or conditions that were agreed upon as a result of the bargaining relating to the sale of the Transportation business.
- This Effects Bargaining Agreement (or “Agreement”) covers only those UE-represented employees that are employed in the Transportation business and that
transfer to Wabtec with the sale of the business and close of the transaction.
- Closing Payment:
- Paragraph 3 Eligible Employees: All current UE-represented Transportation employees as of the Closing Date and who were scheduled under the sales agreement to transfer to WABTEC on the Closing Date (or eligible to transfer later if on leave of absence on the Closing, if and when they transfer). Employees who are on inactive status due to layoff as of the Closing Date, or who otherwise separated from the Company (including termination, resignation or retirement) as of the Closing Date, are not eligible for the Closing Payment.
- As soon as practicable after the Closing Date, a Closing Payment of $350.00 (three hundred fifty dollars), less applicable withholdings, will be paid in a lump sum to all Paragraph 3 Eligible Employees.
- The Closing Payment will be taxable. It will not be treated as creditable compensation or earnings for purposes of the GE Pension Plan, the GE Retirement Savings Plan or any other benefit plan or program.
- Third Accelerated Cash Payment for Those on LOA:
- Paragraph 4 Eligible employees: All current UE-represented Transportation employees who were eligible but did not qualify for the Third Accelerated Cash Payment (“ACP”) under the 2015-19 GE-UE National Agreement because they were on a Company-approved leave as of January 14, 2019, but who after the Closing Date have a right to remain on leave and to reinstatement pursuant to an applicable law or regulation, and who are released to active work and transition to active employment with WABTEC on the next scheduled work day after the expiration of the leave and that transition date is not later than June 23, 2019.
- Payment: Paragraph 4 Eligible Employees will receive the Third ACP ($2,250), less applicable withholding, within 21 days after transitioning to active employment with WABTEC.
- Third Accelerated Cash Payment for Those Who Return from Layoff by Close
- Paragraph 5 Eligible Employees: All UE-represented Transportation employees who were eligible but did not qualify for the Third Accelerated Cash Payment (“ACP”) under the 2015-19 GE-UE National Agreement because they were on layoff as of January 14, 2019, but who before the Closing Date are recalled to employment with GE Transportation.
- Payment: Paragraph 5 Eligible Employees will receive the Third ACP ($2,250), less applicable withholding, within a reasonable period of time after being recalled to work with GE Transportation.
- Preferential Employment:
- Paragraph 6 Eligible Employees: All UE-represented Transportation employees who have transferred to active employment with Wabtec under the transaction sales agreement and who thereafter are permanently laid off by Wabtec before June 23, 2019, shall have the right to participate in a special GE Preferential Placement Program under this Agreement up until June 23, 2019, under the following terms:
- Paragraph 6 Eligible Employees will be provided a process (“GE-Wabtec Preferential Placement Program” or the “Program”) by which they can indicate a preference for hiring into up to six (6) GE US facilities that participate in the GE Company Preferential Placement program.
- “Preference for hiring” under the Program means that the Paragraph 6 Eligible Employees (and other participants in this Program) will be given preference over the hiring of applicants “from the street” but will be second in line to any GE Company Preferential Placement participants who apply through the program for the same job. Thus, the preference order will be: (1) GE employees impacted by a job loss who participate in the Preferential Placement Program; (2) Former Transportation employees who transfer to Wabtec, are subsequently laid off before June 23, 2019, and who are offered and choose to participate in the GE-WABTEC Preferential Placement Program: (3) Applicants from the street.
- Further rules for this new program will be drafted and issued by the Company generally in line with the election and selection process in the most recently negotiated GE-UE National Agreement (with the understanding that the alternative preference order, effective dates and maximum number of potential sites in this Section will apply). The non-election/selection provisions of the GE-UE contractual preferential placement process will not apply to those former Transportation employees using Preferential Placement under this provision, including those provisions providing IEA, severance or any other benefits, visit/relocation assistance, recall rights, or educational assistance.
- The program will end on June 23, 2019, and any Paragraph 6 Eligible Employee waiting for a job opportunity through the program upon the end of that day will be removed from the program at that time. However, if GE agrees to re-up the GE Preferential Placement Program after June 2019 negotiations with its other unions, the GE-Wabtec Preferential Placement Program under this Section will continue until March 1, 2020 – with the understanding that Paragraph 6 Eligible Employees must be impacted by a Wabtec layoff by December 31, 2019 to be eligible and that any Paragraph 6 Eligible Employee waiting for a job opportunity through the program upon the end of the extended program deadline of March 1, 2020, will be removed from the program at that time.
- Special Supplement For Long-Service Group
- Paragraph 7 Eligible Employees: All UE-represented Transportation employees who are participants in the GE Pension Plan, are age 59 as of February 24, 2019 and will attain age 60 no later than April 23, 2019, have at least 25 years of Pension Qualification Service as of February 24, 2019, or will do so pursuant to this agreement – and who transfer to Wabtec, or an affiliate of Wabtec, in connection with the Transportation sale on the close date.
- Paragraph 7 Eligible Employees shall have their initial days of service performed for Wabtec or any Wabtec affiliate through April 23, 2019, treated as Service for the Company for the limited purpose of determining whether the Eligible Employee meets the eligibility conditions for receiving the Special Supplement set forth in Section VI.6 of the GE Pension Plan (the “Special Supplement Eligibility Conditions”).
- Such treatment shall only apply for purposes of applying the Special Supplement Eligibility Conditions. The other terms for receiving the Special Supplement shall not be affected by this Paragraph 7.
- Such treatment shall not apply to increase any benefit accruals under the GE Pension Plan, nor shall such treatment apply in determining Pension Benefit Service or for any other purpose.
- Such treatment shall not apply to a transferred employee who withdraws his or her pre-1989 employee contributions in accordance with the GE Pension Plan before retirement.
WHEREFORE, the parties have caused this Effects Bargaining Agreement to be executed by their duly authorized representatives effective on the day and year written below.
For GE Company: For UE:
Name: ___________________ Name: _______________________
Date: ___________________ Date: _______________________
Representatives of UE Local 506, UE Local 618 and the UE National Union met with Wabtec’s negotiating committee during the week of March 26 – 29. The two sides continued to exchange proposals – both non-economic and economic. While we reached tentative agreement on a couple of non-economic proposals, the two-sides remain far apart on the issues that led to the strike, including two-tier wages, code consolidation, mandatory overtime, overtime pay, subcontracting and the use of temporary employees, and the grievance and arbitration procedures. Negotiations will resume the week of April 1 – 5.
GE-UE Effects Bargaining Agreement
The UE negotiating committee finalized the effects bargaining agreement with GE on March 27. The agreement includes:
- A $350 lump sum closing payment (minus taxes).
- The Third Accelerated Cash Payment (ACP) for UE-represented employees who were on layoff as of January 14, 2019, but were recalled before the February 25th closing date, and UE-represented employees who are on approved leave and return to active status by June 23,2019.
- All UE-represented employees who have transferred to active employment with Wabtec and who thereafter are permanently laid off by Wabtec before June 23, 2019 shall have the right to participate in the GE Preferential Placement Program.
- Any UE-represented employees who are participants in the GE Pension Plan, are age 59 as of February 24, 2019 and will attain age 60 no later than April 23, 2019, have at least 25 years of PQS as of February 24, 2019 will be eligible for the Special Supplement of the GE Pension Plan.
On March 12, 2019 the UE 506 and 618 negotiating committees met with Wabtec negotiators. This was the first negotiating session since the parties were able to reach an interim agreement on March 6, 2019. During the first session of negotiations the committees exchanged proposals and found common ground on a number of noneconomic contract issues. We will continue to work hard on coming to a fair and equitable agreement for both parties.
The 90-day interim agreement that governs our working terms and conditions has been posted on the UE Local 506 website.
Prior to negotiations, UE representatives reported several incidents of irresponsible and disrespectful treatment of members and union representatives on the shop floor. Since our return to work, there have been multiple reports of members, stewards and the executive board members harassment, intimidation and total disregard for safety. We are addressing these issues.
Our top goal is always the safety and well-being of our members, so please be aware and remain on high alert to any danger in you work surroundings, and that of your coworkers. Three members have been injured since returning to work on Monday—this is why we take work conditions so seriously. Unnecessary work injuries are unacceptable, and Wabtec’s lead negotiator has committed to addressing our concerns.
Many members are also reporting unnecessary disciplinary actions since returning to work. If you are in a discussion with management that could lead to discipline you have the right to request representation (Weingarten Rights). If you would like to file a grievance you can request to speak to your steward. If you are unreasonably denied please notify your Chief Steward on your break. Once the hall is notified, we can address these issues with HR as they arise.
This STRIKE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT (“Agreement”) reached the 6th day of March 2019, between WABTEC CORPORATION (“Company”) and the UNITED ELECTRICAL, RADIO AND MACHINE WORKERS OF AMERICA (UE) and its LOCAL UNION NOS. 506 and 618 (“Union”) (the Company and the Union are sometimes collectively referenced as the “Parties”), includes the following terms and conditions:
On behalf of its members, the Union agrees to terminate its strike and return to work subject to the terms of the March 6, 2019 Memorandum of Agreement (the “Interim Agreement”) and this Agreement. No compensation will be paid by the Company for any time not worked due to participation in the strike.
On or before 6:30 AM on Monday, March 11, 2019, the Union will remove all tents, chairs, signage, barrels, pallets, firewood, garbage and other debris from the exterior of the Company’s Erie Plant.
Employees will return to work beginning at 6:30 AM on Monday, March 11, 2019. Employees will be reinstated to their pre-strike job classifications and shift assignments without loss of seniority. By close of business on March 8, 2019, the Company will provide a list of employees for whom no work is immediately available. These employees will not be required to report for work but will be placed on temporary layoff subject to the payment of Income Aid Extension benefits.
For those employees who are enrolled in medical, dental and other welfare plans sponsored by Wabtec, the Company will retroactively reinstate their coverage under these plans effective to Tuesday, February 26, 2019. For employees who have not yet enrolled, Wabtec will provide retroactive coverage under the Company’s medical, dental and other welfare plans as long as such employees enroll prior to March 28, 2019.
Except for two employees identified by the Parties who will receive disciplinary suspensions, the Company will take no disciplinary action against any employee for any strike activities. Further, both the Union agree that there will be no reprisals against, or discrimination towards, any employee, bargaining unit or otherwise, based upon his/her participation or non-participation in Union activities. Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to waive any pre-existing agreements between the Union and the Company requiring the Union to reimburse employees for strike-related property damage.
The Parties agree that the Company’s officers, directors and managers, and the Union’s officers, executive board, stewards and employees, will limit public comment regarding the Interim Agreement and this Agreement to a joint statement regarding the strike settlement agreement in the form attached as Exhibit A. Upon execution of this Agreement, the Company will send this joint statement (on behalf of both Parties) to all news outlets in Erie and select outlets in Pittsburgh that have covered the Parties’ labor dispute. The Union will simultaneously post the joint statement on their website.
On Social Media
- Download this sign (“_____ Supports UE 506 & 618 Strikers #Solidarity4UE”) and print
- Write your name or organization on the top part of the sign
- Take a selfie or group photo holding the sign (or multiple signs), and post on social media with the hashtags #Solidarity4UE and #EndCorporateGreed
- On Twitter, please tag the company (@WabtecCorp)
- Add this frame to your Facebook profile picture
At Wabtec HQ
If you can make it to Wilmerding, PA (just outside of Pittsburgh) on March 6th, there will be a solidarity rally at 3pm at the intersection of Westinghouse Avenue and Station Street.
Join striking members of UE Locals 506 and 618 from Erie, PA, together with members of UE Local 610 who work at Wabtec in Wilmerding, to send a message to Wabtec Headquarters: our communities need family-supporting jobs!
Members of 506 and 618 are on strike because Wabtec imposed new working conditions after purchasing the plant from GE, including mandatory overtime, wage cuts of up to 38% for newly hired and recalled workers, and using temps for up to 20 percent of the work. Show your support in this fight for the rights of all workers to stand up to corporate greed by joining us in Wilmerding!
Executive bonus packages dwarf wage reduction impacts on Erie economy
(February 28, 2019) ERIE, PA— As 1,700 hourly workers remain locked out of the Wabtec plant in Lawrence Park, Pennsylvania, an economic impact study by nationally recognized firm, Parker Philips, shows the negative economic impact the proposed wage reductions would total about the same amount as Wabtec Chief Executive Officer, Raymond Betler’s corporate merger bonus package.
Upon completion of the merger with GE transportation, a $16 million payment will be made to its CEO, Raymond Betler, and over $43 million in compensation to 19 other executives.
For the purposes of the analysis, Parker Philips examined a potential dip below currently contracted wages at 30%, 40%, and 50% for new hires/rehires. An analysis of the 466 call backs currently being negotiated, show that proposed wage reductions of 40% would result in a loss in direct and induced wages of $17.1 million, 82 more local jobs, and a ripple effect of $11 million in economic loss to the economy.
“If Wabtec has enough money to reward over $120 million to executives at its company and General Electric, it damn well has enough money to honor the existing union contract with workers in Erie, Pennsylvania,” said United States Senator, Bernie Sanders. “What is happening in Erie is the continuation of corporate greed pure and simple. Our job is to end Wabtec’s greed and make sure the company treats its workers with respect and dignity.”
“This analysis shows that one person’s treasure is entire region’s tragedy,” said Scott Slawson, President U.E. Local 506. “Unless Mr. Betler plans to spend his entire bonus package in Erie County, these proposed wage cuts would be a major hit to our local economy—particularly small businesses fueled in part by the hard-earned wages of Erie’s extraordinary skilled labor force. This report further fuels our resolve to stand up for our local economy and working families across the region”
“Our analysis shows that the wage cuts under discussion are relatively small compared to the total economic output of Wabtec,” said Nichole Parker, Principal Partner, Parker Philips. “An analysis of the wage reductions clearly demonstrates that UE 506 workers and the local businesses that they support will bear the brunt of any wage cutbacks.”
Sectors impacted include the service and retail sector, healthcare, wholesale trade, and transportation. While the majority of job losses occur in the railroad manufacturing sector, the loss of wages and spending power of jobs transferred will ripple throughout the entire Pennsylvania economy.
Upon closing on Monday, Wabtec executive vested in several different stock-based compensation products, including options, restricted stock, restricted stock units, and performance units. The former two are essentially shares which are now vested, whereas the latter two will be settled in cash “as promptly as possible,” according to merger documents.
The chart below was compiled by United Electrical Radio & Machine Workers of America and calculates the awards presuming Wabtec’s stock trading at $97.07.
Aggregate Value of Unvested Wabtec:
Restricted Stock Units
Raymond T. Betler
Patrick D. Dugan
David L. DeNinno
Scott E. Wahlstrom
Albert J. Neupaver
5 Other Executive Officers
Robert J. Brooks
Emilio A. Fernandez
Lee B. Foster, II
Linda S. Harty
Brian P. Hehir
Michael W.D. Howell
William E. Kassling
There were erroneous news reports that contract negotiations would begin today. If interim agreement were reached, we would have begun contract negotiations today. That did not happen, and there are no negotiations scheduled at this time.
BROTHERS & SISTERS,
Please remain disciplined and respectful on the picket line. Keep supporting your fellow workers, keep checking in for communications updates, and keep talking to your families. We encourage you to bring your friends and families to the picket line.
Countless families, retirees, and community members are dropping food, coffee, hand warmers, and more. Thank a neighbor tonight for supporting us.
UE supports businesses that support union families. Here are just a few who dropped off food today. If you know of more, please let your Picket Captain know:
- Irish Cousins
- Tim Hortons
- Intergalasstic Art
- Little Ceaser Pizza
- The Bean
- Jack Frost Donuts
- Erie Fire Department
- LP Fire Department
- H&H Shingle Savers
- Presque Isle Wineries
- Lords Company Employees
- The Red Foxx
- All in Your Home HealthCare
- Zach Langer, Pfeffer Insurance
- Andy Pius Tree & Stump
- Junk Luggers
- Local Girl Scouts
- PA United, Erie County
- Bob Evans
- Yum Yum’s Pizza
- Firehouse Subs
- Larson Products
- The Bean in North East
- Eric Walter Tree & Stump Removal
- Pius Tree Service
U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders released a video yesterday supporting our strike, stating “The fight that they are fighting in Erie, Pennsylvania is a fight that reflects the needs of millions of workers throughout this country.” Sanders wishes UE members “the best of luck in their struggle” and urges Wabtec to come back to the table and “treat their workers with respect and dignity.”
Local author Cyndie “CJ” Zahner published “the first in a series of blogs about the Erie, Pennsylvania wage dispute” yesterday:
If you are a blue-collar manufacturing worker in Erie, you should be concerned about the Wabtec/GE strike. The outcome of this labor dispute may eventually affect you.
Here’s how GE labor relations affected Erie in the past:
My Husband as an Example
Jeff worked as a journeyman toolmaker in Erie at a livable wage for years. When the owners of manufacturing companies in town banded together to control wages and, in some cases, alleviate overtime costs, Jeff’s pay raises and overtime stopped. We had three children in college at the time, so Jeff applied to and accepted a job at GE as a second-shift, press-brake operator in the hope overtime would be available to help pay our mounting college costs.
That year, GE hired hundreds of Erie workers. Smaller Erie manufacturers lost much of their skilled labor to them. In an attempt to keep some employees, those Erie manufacturing companies had to step up their pay increases and benefits. In doing so, they kept some employees from going to GE.
Fast forward a few years. GE is no longer hiring. In fact, they have laid some of those workers off.
Now those same manufacturers have the ability to fall back to their nickel-and-diming ways. So, some did. No need to take the scaling back to prior ways personal. This is Basic Supply and Demand 101.
Brothers and Sisters, the solidarity among our UE family is unmatched. Your resolve to stand united in support of family sustaining jobs is honorable and brave—we salute you. Keep supporting your fellow workers, keep checking in for communications updates, and keep talking to your families.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
- FILE: Please file for unemployment today. This is a lockout.
- LOG ON: www.uc.pa.gov
- Click File an Initial Claim
- Follow step-by-step filing instructions
- REASON FOR SEPARATION: Strike/Lockout
- SIGN UP: If you haven’t signed up for a picket shift, call your chief steward and sign up for a picket shift now.
- COMMUNICATE: Check in with your Chief Steward, Picket Line Captain or your Steward. Check the website, or Facebook for updates. If you would to receive updates via email please got to www.uelocal506.com and CLICK the MEMBER SIGN UP button.
- ASK FOR HELP: As an employee of Wabtec, your benefits include access to the Employees Assistance Program (EAP). You can call EAP at any time for any reason at 877-234-5151. It is a completely confidential resource. Feel overwhelmed? Call 2-1-1 and somebody will be there to help you, whatever you need.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. We are fighting to maintain current wages and working conditions in the plant while we negotiate a new contract. A contract that GE considered acceptable and profitable. It’s demoralizing and unnecessary.
2. Wabtec assertion that our wages are too high “for that region” is an insult to every person living in Erie County. This is not just about our jobs—this is about the future of our local economy, our community and family sustaining jobs across America.
3. Wabtec is not poor—and the Lawrence Park plant under the current collective bargaining agreement has been highly profitable every quarter for years. Wabtec is a profitable company that is expected to bring in nearly $8 billion this year – doubling its revenue as a result of the merger. They had enough money to provide over $120 million in payments to executives at Wabtec and GE, including a $16 million handout to Wabtec’s CEO.
Dear Erie labor and community leader,
On February 25th Wabtec is scheduled to take over the GE Transportation Erie facility. We have been in negotiations with the company for over a month. The proposals the company still has on the table will destroy wages, benefits, and working conditions that have taken Erie workers and their local unions, UE Local 506 and UE Local 618, over 80 years to develop. Wages and benefits which helps to provide our community with a solid tax base and decent living standards and millions of dollars in profits to GE. Wabtec is attempting to destroy these living standards and put even more profits it in the pockets of the executives and shareholders.
We build some of the finest most durable locomotives in the world. Wabtec’s destruction of Erie wages and conditions have absolutely nothing to do with making the locomotive facility more successful. In fact, based on the history of huge concessions forced on workers by corporations and the gutting of standards in our communities across this nation, their actions will do just the opposite.
We will not let that happen and ask for your solidarity and support.
If there is a strike, we ask that you not cross our picket lines and withhold any support to the company for their operations. We, also, ask that you call or email Raymond T. Betler, Wabtec’s CEO at 888-264-0011 or rbetler@wabtec,com and tell them they should agree to a fair and equitable contract for Erie workers. Also, please stop by the picket line and offer your support and solidarity to our members.
To see the latest developments, go to UE Local 506 Facebook page.
Thank you for your time and your support. Together we can build a better Erie.
UE Local 506
UE Local 618
3rd shift 7:45
2nd shift 1:30
1st shift 3:30
NO MOTIONS WILL BE ENTERTAINED AT THE 3RD SHIFT MEETING. ANY BUSINESS OF THE UNION IS TO BE PREFORMED AT THE 2ND SHIFT AND 1ST SHIFT MEETINGS. 3rd shift meeting is informational only.
UNION BLASTS GE ANNOUNCEMENT OF MORE JOB LOSSES
In response to GE’s announcement yesterday of its intent to take more work out of the Erie plant, UE Local 506 issued the following press release:
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Local 506 of the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE), the union representing production and maintenance workers at the Erie GE plant, is expressing anger and a sense of betrayal at GE’s July 27 announcement that it plans to move international locomotive production out of Erie to Fort Worth, Texas, at a cost of 575 Erie jobs.
Local 506 President Scott Slawson said the union feels betrayed by the company’s announcement. Despite previous rounds of layoffs in Erie since GE opened the Fort Worth plant in 2012, the union has worked with the company to secure the existing jobs in the Erie plant and improve the plant’s performance. “We’ve been working very closely with them for the past year and a half to improve quality, efficiency, delivery. Our efficiency is up to triple what Fort Worth’s is in the locomotive business, and it’s still not enough for them.
Slawson added, “Last November we signed a Job Preservation Agreement with this company in an effort to not just preserve jobs but preserve the future of Erie. That agreement was signed in good faith and ratified by a vote of our membership. We were led to believe, by the company, that this was going to secure the future in Erie. Yet here we are, eight months later, being handed a transfer of work notice that basically says, we like what you’ve done but too bad.”
Slawson questioned the wisdom of the company’s decision to concentrate locomotive production in Fort Worth, a plant whose performance has lagged far behind Erie’s. “Our efficiency in Erie has risen and been maintained. The latest figures we’ve seen indicate that efficiency percentage in locomotive production in Fort Worth is in the lowest of all GE Transportation plants, while Erie’s efficiency is more than double Fort Worth’s.” He also noted that when GE began operating the Fort Worth plant four years ago it described it as an “overflow” facility, auxiliary to the Erie plant, but that GE has now betrayed those commitments.
The company, in Slawson’s view, is obsessed with pursuing cheap labor to the detriment of all other considerations. He said the Fort Worth plant has a high rate of employee turnover because of low wages. Workers are leaving GE Fort Worth and finding union-represented jobs at much higher pay.
Slawson thanked U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) for his statement criticizing GE’s actions. Earlier Thursday Casey issued a statement saying GE had “turned its back on Northwestern Pennsylania and the workers who have made its company a success,” and calling the company’s actions “insulting”. Casey added, “The skilled, experienced workers in Erie have done everything that has been asked of them, only to get slapped in the face by GE over and over again.”
National union officials of UE and of Local 506 plan to meet in the coming days. “We’re meeting with our leaders and members in Erie to review all options for fighting this outrageous attack by GE,” said Gene Elk, UE’s Director of Organization, one of its three national officers.
Elk added, “The Erie GE plant has been in operation for more than 110 years. Generations of Erie workers, their families and the entire community have worked hard and sacrificed to build this company, and GE has made billions of dollars in Erie.” Elk noted that as recently as the 1970s GE employed 20,000 people in Erie, manufacturing a variety of products, but the company had steadily downsized the plant by removing one product line after another. “Each time it eliminated another Erie business, GE assured the workers and the community of its ‘commitment to Erie’ and that the remaining jobs would be retained,” said Elk.
Any members who are having issues with TAA or TRA can go to Building SB3 at the former hammer mill site tomorrow 7/21/2016 between the hours of 8:30am and 12:00pm and also between the hours of 1pm and 2pm. There will be people there to help you. ( I wasn’t told you needed to bring anything, but if I was you, I’d bring everything)
Please click link above for download able application.