Friday, December 13

Labor Strife At Erie Plant After Wabtec Acquisition

ERIE, Pa.–Following the merger between Wabtec and GE Transportation, the future of a key manufacturing facility here is in question because a labor agreement seems elusive, according to reporting by the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Almost halfway into a 90-day interim contract agreement, Wabtec Corp.(NYSE: WAB) and UE union workers at its Erie facility are still far from reaching a long-term labor agreement solution. The facility experienced a nine-day workday strike in late February and early March, starting the day after Wabtec formally acquired the plant.

Rich Krolczyk, the Erie plant manager, gave a document with negotiation updates to Local 506 and Local 618 union leadership this week, indicating it has offered some 150 proposals, modified proposals and counter-proposals to the UE since negotiations began.

The union, which represents 1,700 workers at the Erie plant, has pushed back against contract terms that include mandatory overtime, wage reductions of up to 38 percent for newly hired workers and the option to use temporary workers for up to 20 percent of the plant’s operations.

The update defends the company’s contract proposal to change the hourly rate for new hires to $22.

Greg Sbrocco, senior vice president of operations at Wabtec, said the first 40 days of negotiations under the interim agreement, which expires on June 3, have been “less than fruitful.”

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