Fetterman Rallies With Hundreds of Striking Wabtec Workers in Erie

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the state's U.S. Senate seat, right, poses for a photo with a supporter after speaking at a rally in Erie, Pa., on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

By Sean Kitchen

August 22, 2023

Thursday marked the two month mark since 1,400 workers went on strike at the Wabtec Locomotive plant in Erie.


US Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pennsylvania) rallied with hundreds of striking union members from the Wabtec Locomotive plant in Erie on Monday.

It’s been two months since over 1,400 members of the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America Locals 506 and 618 walked off the job due to proposed changes that would limit their ability to strike over grievance issues and because they want the company to commit to building green locomotives.

GoErie reported that Fetterman has used his platform to raise money for the union’s strike fund, and told the crowd “one of the most amazing and powerful things ever invented is called a union.

“If you create wealth, [you] should get a share in that, and that’s what it is,” Fetterman told the union workers, according to YourErie.

The senator also chastised the company for not providing workers with a raise since 2016, calling it “outrageous.”

Since joining the US Senate earlier this year, Fetterman has used his short time in office to lift up union members across Pennsylvania and the country.

In July, he introduced the Food Secure Strikers Act, which would allow striking workers and their families to be eligible for benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Workers who go on strike are currently disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits because the federal government considers them as refusing work. Fetterman’s bill would lift those requirements and allow striking union members to receive SNAP benefits.

“John Fetterman time after time has proven his commitment to standing with and jumping out front in his support for working families and we will always be forever indebted to him for his commitment to working families,” Darrin Kelly, president of the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council, told The Keystone at the time.

“The union way of life is sacred, it’s what built this nation, it’s what built Pennsylvania, it’s what built Erie, and it’s what built the middle class. I am always going to fight for the working people of Pennsylvania,” Fetterman said in a statement last week highlighting the two-month mark since Wabtec workers went on strike.



  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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