Press Statement

Media Advisory: Union’s Latest Agreement Following “The Summer of Strikes,” Showcases Growing Worker Power this Labor Day

By September 4, 2023September 6th, 2023No Comments

Contact: Jodi Hirsh, 412-326-9832, 


The United Electrical Workers’ Tentative Agreement with Wabtec is yet another example of  the power of unions at work across the region in nearly every industry.

Erie, PA —  The summer of 2023 is already being hailed as “The Summer of Strikes.” Waves of workers are walking off the job to demand fair pay, fair working conditions, dignity and respect. 

In Appalachia, we have a rich history of fighting for workers rights, spilling blood in the early days of the U.S. labor movement.  Today we can see the power of unions at work across the region in nearly every industry.

In Erie, 1400 locomotive plant workers spent the summer on strike, fighting for a fair contract and for green jobs, which they have nearly attained. Workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have been on strike for 9 months, and Starbucks workers have successfully shut down stores across the country.

Last month, Vice President Kamala Harris announced new rules for the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, which will raise wages almost immediately for some building trades unions. For the first time in 40 years the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is updating the rules that affect millions of workers on federally funded construction projects. This has been a long-sought priority of labor unions ever since the Reagan administration gutted the law in 1981-82. 

Said ReImagine Appalachia director Amanda Woodrum, “In addition to the momentum from workers striking across the country, the Biden Administration is working to implement new federal legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act, which not only makes it clear that we don’t have to choose between good jobs and climate action, but includes strong labor standards for renewable energy and energy efficiency work.”

For more, check out ReImagine Appalachia’s blog posts on The Summer of Strikes and Davis-Bacon Act. 

Reimagine Appalachia is a coalition of labor, policy experts and community leaders who are making sure that everyone who lives here can have a good job and can put down roots for the future. For months, the coalition has been pushing Congress to pass major funding packages that create jobs, rebuild infrastructure, and address fires and floods caused by damage to the climate.