Wabtec Proposed Wage Reductions Will Negatively Impact UE Households, Pennsylvania Economy


Executive bonus packages dwarf wage reduction impacts on Erie economy

CONTACT Scott Slawson: 814-899-3108

(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. 

The full report can be downloaded here or viewed at www.parkerphilips.com.

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:

Total Value


Restricted Stock

Restricted Stock Units

Performance Units

Executive Officers

Raymond T. Betler






Patrick D. Dugan






Stéphane Rambaud-Measson






David L. DeNinno






Scott E. Wahlstrom






Albert J. Neupaver






5 Other Executive Officers






Non-Executive Directors

Philippe Alfroid






Robert J. Brooks






Erwan Faiveley






Emilio A. Fernandez






Lee B. Foster, II






Linda S. Harty






Brian P. Hehir






Michael W.D. Howell






William E. Kassling













Download the Economic Impact Study here

Bulletin 2-27



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. 


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

CEO’s are Ripping Off Working Families


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.”

Why You Should Care About the Wabtec Strike


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.

Read the whole blog post on cyndiezahner.com

Bulletin 2-26


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. 


  • 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.


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.

Download this bulletin as a PDF file (for printing)


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. In Solidarity, UE Local 506 UE Local 618