Workers OK New Contract at Erie Locomotive Plant

Union workers in Erie, Pennsylvania, last week ratified a new contract with Wabtec that will bring labor peace to the locomotive assembly plant for the next four years.

Members of locals 506 and 618 of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America approved the pact after 128 days of negotiations and a nine-day strike in March. The union represents 1,700 workers.

The former GE Transportation facility in Lawrence Park had been threatened with closure.

News reports indicated that both sides gave in on some of their demands.

New hires will be paid less than existing employees but be put on a 10-year path toward reaching the top of the pay scale. Current employees will continue to be paid at the existing wage rates.

Wabtec agreed to continue building new locomotive at the Erie plant operating and to hire 100 new workers, although that was short of the 400 jobs the union had wanted.

The two sides also compromised on overtime with Wabtec agreeing that it would be voluntary and not mandatory as the company had sought.

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