DSA stands in unwavering solidarity with UE Locals 506 and 618 and all workers engaged in shop-floor struggle for a better world. The capitalists at Wabtec, Amazon, UPS, Starbucks, and other multinational corporations hate strikes for the same reason they inspire workers everywhere: they show workers that our labor creates all value and we have the power to withhold it to win our demands. UE has been part of the resurgence of new shop organizing with its role in the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee, a joint venture between Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and UE that supports the formation of militant rank-and-file led unions in all industries throughout the United States. UE’s demonstration of what workers can demand when they use the power of the strike will inspire workers across industries.
UE has represented workers at this plant since 1938 but lost this right in their 2019 agreement with new owner Wabtec. This loss makes it difficult for UE to enforce their collective bargaining agreement. UE Locals 506 and 618 are fighting not only to regain the right to strike, but also for a just transition in the locomotive manufacturing industry. The contract they are demanding would not only protect current jobs and create new ones, but also orient railroads away from a dirty, fossil-fuel-guzzling status quo towards a greener, cleaner, worker-centered future through its Green Locomotive Project.
But a contract is only as strong as a union’s ability to enforce it; a worker-led Green New Deal can only be won when workers are empowered to strike when necessary. We encourage members to use this link to donate to the strike fund, and chapters can send letters of support to UE Local 618 (3923 Main St., Erie, PA 16511) and UE Local 506 (3923 Main St. Erie, PA 16511).
At a time when the anti-democratic Supreme Court is attempting to strip workers of their rights, including the right to strike, UE Locals 506 and 618 (who manufacture locomotives in Erie, PA) are using their contract fight to expand the right to strike, create new green jobs to benefit their community and the planet, and make Wabtec give workers the respect and compensation they deserve. We stand with these workers in the fight for what they deserve.