Westmoreland County Manufacturing Workers Resume Negotiations After One-Day Strike

November 4, 2019

Workers at ABB Seek Improved Healthcare from Profitable Fortune 500 Company

For more information contact:
Ben Wilson, UE Field Organizer: (412) 935 7545 | ben.wilson@ueunion.org

Members of UE Locals 625 and 626, the unions representing workers at the ABB plants in Westmoreland County are resuming negotiations with the company today after a one-day warning strike last Friday.

“Local 625 members have had enough of ABB reaping all the profits and leaving the workers with these outrageous medical costs, out-of-pockets, and deductibles,” said UE Local 625 President Gary Williams.

UE Local 626 President John Nemetz said “It had been inspiring how the UE 625 and 626 members have come together, because they realize that medical insurance is a very important part of everyone's lives, not just ours.”

A questionnaire distributed by the union prior to negotiations revealed that many ABB workers are in severe medical debt, and many others avoid using the insurance because they can’t afford the deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.

Workers at ABB’s Crystal Springs, Mississippi and Jefferson City, Missouri facilities wore stickers last week in solidarity with UE Locals 625 and 626, and have sent letters to the company expressing their solidarity with workers in Western Pennsylvania. The Crystal Springs and Jefferson City workers are represented by IUE-CWA Local 83799 and UAW Local 2379 respectively.

ABB’s Power Grids Division, which includes the Westmoreland County plants, has recently been purchased by the Japanese company Hitachi, which will be majority owner by next year.

The members of UE Local 625 recorded a video message for the company a week ago, which can be viewed at https://youtu.be/Cth0qYkkJ4I. Photos of the strike can be found on UE's Facebook Page, and higher-resolution versions of some photos are available by contacting UE Communications Director Jonathan Kissam at jkissam@ueunion.org.

UE Local 625 and 626 members build high-quality circuit breakers and high-voltage equipment. Their contracts with ABB expired on Thursday, October 31 at midnight.