By Freedom Road Socialist Organization Labor Commission
The Freedom Road Socialist Organization stands in solidarity with the 1400 workers of UE Locals 506 and 618 who have been on strike against Wabtec Corp since June 22, 2023.
Members with the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE) Locals 506 and 618, who build locomotive engines for Wabtec Corporation in Erie, Pennsylvania voted down the company’s last, best and final offer on June 22 and have been out on the picket line now for over two months.
The workers are striking to win wage increases, better vacation scheduling and more environmentally friendly production. However, some workers have reported that the most important issue that led to the walkout was the right to strike over grievances. Striking over grievances used to be a common, but now it’s nearly unheard of in the United States.
Although fighting for the right to strike during a contract is rare, it is an important tool for class struggle unionists. The ability to strike over grievances is powerful. UE has a long, proud history of class struggle unionism, making it an outlier in history and a beacon for labor militants wanting to build a union movement capable of challenging our oppressors. UE’s pamphlet “Them and Us Unionism” published in 2020 draws a clear line in the sand between workers and the capitalist class.
The Freedom Road Socialist Organization is proud to raise our fists in solidarity with the 1400 members on the picket line in Erie. Many of us are trade unionists leading fights on the shop floor every day. We hope that all workers, union or otherwise, join us in standing in solidarity with the strikers from UE. Talk to your coworkers about the courage displayed by these workers and encourage your union to send messages of support and donations to the strike fund. A united working class can accomplish anything. When we fight, we win!