New York Air Brake Wants Union Workers To Take Pay Cut

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Union workers would see a cut in their hourly pay under New York Air Brake's contract proposal.

That's according to Peter Cooney, business manager for Local 761 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

He said the average hourly union wage is $20.88.

Under the proposed contract, the Air Brake would cut wages by as much as $4.15 an hour.

The union says every union worker would see a pay cut.

"We're not very happy with the company's final offer. To put it in a nutshell, it provides less money," said Cooney.

He said the proposal takes the workers' pension plan away and gives the company an increased ability to use non-union employees.

Cooney also said New York Air Brake is looking for changes on issues like seniority, overtime and pay rates.

The deadline expired Thursday for current contract between the company and the union.

The pact was expected to be presented to the 151 union members on Friday and a ratification vote is set for Saturday.

"We're going to go over the proposal at length with the membership, let them ask as many questions as they want until all their questions are answered, then we're going to take a vote on whether they accept it or not," said Cooney.

In a letter distributed with employees' paychecks, company officials say if the union decides to strike, members will still be allowed to work.

The letter tells people that the union could fine them if they cross the picket line. To avoid a fine, the letter says, employees can resign from the union.
 
The letter gives detailed instructions on how to resign as a union member.
 
Cooney declined to comment on the company's letter.
 
New York Air Brake President Michael Hawthorne said he's optimistic a deal can be worked out with the union.
 
The current three-year contract was struck in April 2010 after a day-long strike.
 
 
Sunday, December 21, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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