Wabtec Corp. and a union representing 1,700 locomotive manufacturing workers in Erie are set to head back to the bargaining table on Wednesday for the first time since union workers surprised the country by calling a labor strike to protest the transportation company’s contract proposals.
The labor strike, which marked its seventh day on Tuesday, was called just hours after Wabtec closed on its $11 billion deal to acquire General Electric’s locomotive-building unit. GE Transportation operated the Erie plant — and negotiated labor contracts with the union — for decades.
Wabtec, based in Wilmerding and planning to move its headquarters to Pittsburgh this year, wants to impose a two-tier wage system that maintains a $35-an-hour wage for current workers but pays lower wages to new hires and workers called back from layoff. The company also wants the ability to require overtime hours when it deems necessary.