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U.A.W. Strike Day Two

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

strikeuaw.jpgSaturn workers have now joined their sisters and brothers in the U.A.W. in support of their strike against GM according to the Nashville Business Journal:

Dozens of GM workers in Spring Hill were picketing outside the entrance to the company’s idled Saturn manufacturing plant on Monday. Most of the company’s workers at the plant have been furlough while the plant undergoes renovation. The Spring Hill plant is represented by UAW Local 1853.

The plant employs 2,800 hourly workers and 290 salaried workers. GM did not provide information on how the strike will affect the retooling, or if there are any workers still inside the plant for renovations.

Tom Walsh of the Detroit Free Press reports:

“This whole thing’s a farce,” a 31-year veteran worker at GM’s Janesville, Wis., SUV assembly plant told me Tuesday. “In the past, we always got updates on contract talks, points of interest from our local union reps. This time, we’re being told nothing.

“They know if they send a contract out now for ratification, the workers won’t pass it. So they send us out on the street, and after two or three weeks without paychecks, people will ratify anything,” the worker said, asking that his name not be used for fear of possible harassment.

This actually reminds me of the situation with my union and my view of our international leadership.  Hoffa and Ken Hall (one of the lead negotiators) are a little to buddy buddy with UPS and want to pass a weak contract to be on good terms with UPS.  If we sense a weak contract we’ll hopefully vote it down, but that doesn’t mean our Teamster leadership won’t try to pressure us to accept a slightly better (but still very weak) contact.

Another article from the Free Press states:

UAW members would rather be coming to work instead of reporting for strike duty, said Albert Creer, a 50-year-old worker at Pontiac Assembly, who took over the early morning strike shift for the overnighters like Davis.

But GM pushed the union too far, he said.

”It’s bad; everybody loses,” said Creer of Detroit. ”Hopefully, it won’t last too long.”

The past day and night had been a dramatic turn of events for Pontiac Assembly workers and some 73,000 UAW-represented employees at more than 80 GM plants across the U.S.

After seemingly nearing the end of contract negotiations, the UAW enacted a strike at 11 a.m. Monday.

Detroit News reports:

The scuffling and sometimes violence that have marked past work stoppages aren’t apparent during Day Two of the UAW’s strike against General Motors Corp.

Shortly after 3 p.m., sheriff’s deputies arrived at GM’s Orion Assembly plant in Orion Township as a precaution while white-collar workers left the plant. Two deputies stood between pickets and cars leaving the factory grounds.

Striker Al Dontje said “The sheriffs were friendly to us. They even shook our hand. There was no problems here.”

And continues:

“People outside the union think we’re overpaid and whining,” Waters said. “I’d like them to spend an hour inside that plant. Everybody does the job of three or four people. The entire time I worked there, it was always more work, less people, more work, less people. They’re reaching a breaking point. I already did.”

Support for the strikers is growing in Detroit:

United Auto Workers locals in Metro Detroit say they are getting a lot of public support on their second day of strike against General Motors Corp.

The spirits of striking workers remain high, and many other businesses and unions are stopping by their union halls and picket areas with food and offers of help, according to presidents of several UAW locals.

“A couple of law firms in town just delivered 30 pizzas,” said Chris “Tiny” Sherwood, president of Local 652 in Lansing, which represents GM’s Lansing Grand River plant and the Lansing Regional Stamping plant in Delta Township.

“I just got a call from the local teacher’s union say they would offer support if we need it. We’re getting homemade pies from retirees, who are coming in big numbers,” Sherwood said.

Harley Shaiken from UC Berkeley has some good analysis of the strike on PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

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One Comment
  1. lamegoat permalink
    Friday, October 12, 2007 5:17 am

    Michigan: The Worst state for a strike
    The UAW will pay striking employees $200 per week. I can’t speak for every employee…but a lot of people I know have ZERO saved up for a rainy day. If the UAW forces its workers to strike for a long time – we can expect to see some of those workers go back to work…being a ‘scab‘ is better than being broke and homeless.

    Some more introspect:

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