The Lead

Wabtec, Erie unions reach tentative contract agreement

By: - August 30, 2023 4:51 pm

Wabtec HQ in Pittsburgh (Capital-Star photo)

The unions representing striking rail workers at the Wabtec Corp. plant in Erie have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, both sides confirmed Wednesday. 

According to a statement from the unions, members will vote on the agreement Thursday, and if ratified, will bring the strike to an end. 

The 1,400 members of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America union (UE), Locals 506 and 618 have been on strike since June 22. They make locomotive engines in Erie for Wabtec, and sought improvements to wages and benefits, as well as provisions for the unions to build a percentage of the company’s greenest locomotives at the Erie plant. 

The union’s position, backed by an April report from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, was that building more of the greener “tier-4” locomotives in Erie would be good for the company and the Erie-area economy, and ultimately the environment. 

Wabtec was one of the first companies to develop and commercialize the tier-4 locomotive in 2015.

Wabtec said in a statement Wednesday that the tentative agreement “provides wage increases, improves the grievance process, improves holidays and personal days for new employees, and transitions the Erie workforce to Wabtec’s standard employee benefits with additional benefits new to the union membership.” The company said it was joining UE’s leadership “in recommending the tentative agreement for approval by the membership.”

A copy of the tentative agreement is posted on Wabtec’s website

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Kim Lyons
Kim Lyons

Kim is a veteran western Pennsylvania journalist who has covered people and trends in politics and business for local and national publications.