Today, 1700 members of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Locals 506 and 618 went on strike in Erie, PA. Wabtec Corporation took over the GE Transportation locomotive plant on Monday. As the new employer, Wabtec Corporation imposed “terms and conditions” according to the union, “that include mandatory overtime and arbitrary schedules, wage reductions of up to 38 percent for recalled and newly-hired workers, and the right to use temporary workers for up to 20 percent of the work in the plant”.
The officers of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder, on behalf of the 700,00 union brothers and sisters represented by the federation sent a letter in support for The UE members, urging the company to honor the workers’ Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“We are extremely disappointed that the company could not see its way to agree to continue the terms and conditions that we have worked under for decades. Their refusal leaves us with no choice but to go out on strike to protect our members’ and our children’s future,” said Scott Slawson, President of UE Local 506.
Karlene Torrance of UE Local 618 said, “We are gratified by the outpouring of support we have received from our friends, neighbors, and community in Erie. We will need their support now more than ever.”
The UE has had an 82-year history with GE. It was the labor of UE union members that made GE Transportation into one of the world’s leading locomotive manufacturers. These workers should be treated with the respect they deserve and we will stand in support of them one day longer!