Erie Strikers Receive Support from Pittsburgh, California, North Carolina

July 31, 2023

On Saturday, striking members of UE Locals 506 and 618 got support from a “convoy” of supporters from Pittsburgh who drove to Erie to join the picket line at the Wabtec locomotive plant. On the same day, in California, volunteers with the Green Locomotive Project distributed literature at the Barstow Rail Yard, where Wabtec operates a receiving facility, and on Friday, members of UE Local 150 distributed leaflets at the Wabtec plant in Maxton, North Carolina.

Green Locomotive Project volunteers leafletting at the Barstow, CA Rail Yard, where Wabtec operated a receiving facility.
Green Locomotive Project volunteers leafletting at the Barstow, CA Rail Yard, where Wabtec operates a receiving facility.
Three workers in UE gear with leaflets outside a small factory
At the Wabtec plant in Maxton, NC.

At a rally on the picket line in Erie, Local 610 Vice President Jeff Kohler, whose local represents the Wabtec facilities in Greensburg and Wilmerding blasted the company for “making a mockery of the grievance process” by refusing to settle grievances. “They’re trying to take away your future,” he said, but “610 will gladly stand with you any day.”

Rachel Nunes of the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, whose grandfather worked at the Erie plant, thanked the members of Locals 506 and 618 for “keeping up a tradition of resistance in Erie County. You all taught me how to fight.” 

Other speakers represented UE Local 123 (who came all the way from Staunton, Virginia), the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee, the Clean Air Council, Erie Democratic Socialists of America, SEIU Local 32BJ, PennFuture, UNITE HERE Local 57, the Western PA Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare, BCTGM Local 19, and IBEW Local 56.

Local 618 Business Agent Janet Gray and Local 506 President Scott Slawson spoke briefly to thank everyone in attendance. “You are doing all the right things, Wabtec is doing all the wrong things,” declared Slawson. “I want to thank each and every one of you for coming up here and showing solidarity in this struggle that we are facing today.”

The convoy was sponsored by the UE Eastern Region, Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, the Izaak Walton League, the Labor Network for Sustainability, Pittsburgh Green New Deal, Pittsburghers for Public Transit, the UE Eastern Region, PennFuture, the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee, ReImagine Appalachia, Clean Air Council, the Western PA Coalition for Single Payer Healthcare, the Green Party of Allegheny County, and 350 Pittsburgh.

This article was updated on Tuesday, August 1 to include the leafleting in North Carolina.


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