April 16, 2019 Wabtec Negotiations Update

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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.

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Wabtec Negotiations Update

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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

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UE-GE EFFECTS BARGAINING AGREEMENT

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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. 

  1. 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. 
  1. 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.

  1. Closing Payment
    1. 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. 
    2. 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. 
    1. 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.
  1. Third Accelerated Cash Payment for Those on LOA:
  1. 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.
  1. 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.    
  1. Third Accelerated Cash Payment for Those Who Return from Layoff by Close
  1. 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.
  1. 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.      
  1. Preferential Employment:
  1. 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:
    1. 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.   
    1. “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.
  1. 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.   
  1. 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.   
  1. Special Supplement For Long-Service Group
  1. 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.   
  1. 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”). 
  1. 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.    
  1. 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.
  1. 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:    _______________________

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Wabtec Negotiations Update

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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.
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BULLETIN: Negotiations Update 3/13/2019

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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.

WEINGARTEN RIGHTS: "If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working condition, I respectfully request that my union representative or steward be present at the meeting. Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions." Download this Negotiations Update as a PDF file for printing

Strike Settlement

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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.

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