Wabtec And Union Come To Terms After Months Of Talks


ERIE, PA.–After months of negotiations, Wabtec Corp. (NYSE: WAB) and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America union locals 506 and 618 finally reached a tentative agreement.

The company and the union workers at its Erie facility have been feuding over contract negotiations since Wabtec acquired the facility when its merger with GE Transportation closed in February. A 90-day interim agreement expired on Monday. 

The interim agreement for a four-year contract is still pending ratification by the 1,700 UE members.

“We’re pleased to have reached a fair and reasonable contract that meets the interests of both parties and positions the Erie site for stability,” Greg Sbrocco, Wabtec’s senior vice president of global operations, said in a prepared statement. “…In the end both sides found a common ground that ensures good paying jobs and rewarding work for the hard-working people of Erie.”

While a two-tier wage system was one of the most hotly contested aspects of the previously proposed contract, the tentative agreement will maintain current wage rates for existing employees and feature a 10-year progression to full wage rates for new hires. 

“Our negotiating team has worked hard on behalf of our membership and our community to reach an agreement,” Scott Slawson, UE 506 union president, and Karleen Torrance, UE 618 union president, said in a joint prepared statement. “This tentative agreement is being recommended by the Bargaining Committee to our Boards and the 1,700 members of UE Local 506 and 618 for ratification.”

Other aspects of the tentative agreement include a commitment for new work equivalent to 100 full-time employees by the end of the four years and continuation of voluntary overtime.

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David Kiley is Chief of Content for The BRAKE Report. Kiley is an award-winning business journalist and author, having covered the auto industry for USA Today, Businessweek, AOL/Huffington Post, as well as written articles for Automobile and Popular Mechanics.