Wabtec Negotiations Update 5-17-2019


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

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BULLETIN 4/26/19


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

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April 16, 2019 Wabtec Negotiations Update


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


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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Wabtec Negotiations Update


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


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."

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