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