Statement Issued by James Grunke re Wabtec and UE Local 508 and 618 Negotiations
The following is a statement issued by James Grunke, CEO of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, regarding the latest news on Wabtec and UE Local 508 and 618 negotiations:
This past Sunday, Wabtec placed ad in the paper highlighting some of the concessions the company has made in an effort to continue negotiating with UE Local 506 and 618. Most notably, the latest proposal removed mandatory overtime and removed two-tier wages; it was replaced with a wage progression to legacy rates. The proposal also clarified additional benefits such as paid time off, company health and welfare benefits, and a retirement plan option — all areas that were cited as a top concern for local union leadership.
The fate of Wabtec Corporation’s future in Erie, as well as the future of its employees, will be known in a week’s time. A positive agreement between Wabtec and UE Local 508 and 618 is crucial to the community’s outlook for economic growth and attracting companies to our region. I remain hopeful that local union leadership will work earnestly with its members to share the details of the company proposal and stress how critical this negotiation and their vote is to our community moving forward. The hard work and dedication of the employees at GE – and now Wabtec – have forged the character of our “building things” community. It is my hope that the local union leadership continues to work toward successful negotiation to spur opportunities for future generations of talent in this community. Time is of the essence. If our community is serious about changing our course to one of economic growth and innovation, we must break the cycle of decline.