Today, 1,700 workers at the GE plant in Pennsylvania began striking, which was the first major cessation of production in the United States for three years, reports HuffPost. The factory workers in Ery, Pennsylvania, have not started striking since 1969.
Members of American Electronics, Radio and Machine Workers America (UE) accuse Wabtec Corp. introduce an overwhelming time, reduce wages for new employees and use temporary workers. The trade union failed to secure a temporary extension of GE's contract with Wabtec, forcing them to allow a strike.
Wabtec, as a new owner, is legally bound to acknowledge the association. But they can negotiate a new contract.
"We are disappointed in our decision," Dey Campaneli, spokeswoman for Wabtec, told HuffPost.
According to trade union members, work in the factory, where the average wage is $ 35 per hour, was still quite good.
EU spokeswoman Jonathan Kissam told HuffPost that workers are not opposed to overtime – many of them are already volunteers. But they do not want to be forced into what they think may be reduced to their families. Workers are also worried that hiring new employees for lower wages – about 38 percent lower than current salaries, according to Kissam, – can create divisions in the alliance.
"This is a multistory factory. Some of them, their grandparents worked there, "said Kissam HuffPost. "So they do not want to sell their children".
"Wabtec wants to turn it into a warehouse of the Amazon," he says.
Wabtec says new workers will be hired for "competitive wages" and that a two-tier wage system is needed to compete on the world market. In the local office, Greg Sprocko, Senior Vice President of Wabtec, said the two-tier system was "the standard practice of American manufacturing companies to aggressively compete with competitors in low-cost countries such as China or Mexico." I do not agree.
"We feel that the conditions they put forward for our members were unacceptable," said Scott Slavson, UE Local 506 president, said HuffPost. "We thought it would be best to endure the picket line."
In a letter last week, Senator Berni Sanders called on Wabtec to respect their agreement with the trade union. Today he told HuffPost that he was "proud to be standing" with the union in his "struggle with Wabtec Corporation to maintain decent wages and working conditions."