Wabtec, UE Locals 506 and 618 Reach Tentative Agreement on Four-Year Contract
Wabtec, UE Locals 506 and 618 reached an agreement on a tentative, four-year contract Thursday, according to both parties.
The contract will maintain current wage rates for existing Wabtec employees and provide a ten-year progression to full-wage rates for newly hired employees.
Wabtec has also committed to creating new work equivalent to 100 full-time employees by the end of the contract.
Other key terms of the agreement include:
- Continuation of voluntary overtime.
- Five-year recall rights.
- Former GE Transportation employees who were on the recall list will receive preferential placement for new hire employment with restoration of seniority.
- Overtime premium pay after eight hours / double-time after 12 hours.
- Standard Monday-Friday work week.
- Up to six weeks of paid vacation, based upon years of service.
- Up to 5 paid personal days, based on service.
- Twelve paid holidays.
- Improved health and welfare benefits, including medical, dental, vision, life and disability benefits.
- Retirement (401K) plan with a 3% Company contribution plus an additional 3% matching contribution.
- Four-year agreement.
The agreement is subject to ratification by the 1,700 members of UE Local 506 and 618. Three special membership meetings will be held on Tuesday, June 11 at the Bayfront Convention Center to explain the agreement. Union members will vote whether to ratify the agreement on Wednesday, June 12 at the union hall.
“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,” said Greg Sbrocco, Wabtec’s Senior Vice President of Global Operations, in a news release. “This plant is an important part of the community. In the end both sides found a common ground that ensures good paying jobs and rewarding work for the hard-working people of Erie. This is a good first step to driving competitiveness at the plant and we look forward to moving forward together.”
“Our negotiating team has worked hard on behalf of our membership and our community to reach an agreement,” said Scott Slawson, UE 506 Union President, and Karleen Torrance, UE 618 Union President, in a joint 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.”
Erie News Now Lisa Adams spoke with both Slawson and Sbrocco by phone on Thursday.
Slawson said language was a barrier. The union was familiar with GE while Wabtec operated differently.
Sbrocco declined to provide specifics on the type of new work that would be added to the Erie plant but said he is confident the company will get to 100 new jobs in four years because Wabtec officials have been considering a number of options for Erie. The plant has plenty of vacant manufacturing space.
Slawson also said the push and pull from the community was a distraction at times, but he said the union appreciated the community's concern in knowing how important the plant and jobs are here. Sbrocco said the discussion that played out in the community is the same reason that the negotiations took so long. In his words, "the issues are complex and there are two sides to the story," adding that it finally took good, honest face to face communication at the table to understand what each side needed to make an agreement work.
Sbrocco complemented the union, saying Erie has an awesome workforce, skill level and talent, and both sides are just ready to get back to making a great product.
Union workers went on strike Feb. 26, the day after the merger between Wabtec and GE Transportation closed. They returned to work nine days later after the company and union leaders reached a 90-day interim agreement, which expired Monday, and agreed to continue negotiations.
Wabtec has approximately 27,000 employees in facilities throughout the world, according to the company.
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