UAW hits GM with nationwide strike


cbsnewsDetroit — Some 48,000 members of the United Auto Workers went on strike early Monday, walking off General Motors factory floors and setting up picket lines as their midnight strike deadline came and went. Workers shut down 33 manufacturing plants in nine states across the U.S. as well as 22 parts distribution warehouses.

It wasn’t clear how long the walkout would last, with the union saying GM has budged little in months of talks while GM said it made substantial offers including higher wages and factory investments. Talks were scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. EDT Monday.

It’s the first national strike by the union since a two-day walkout in 2007 that had little impact on the company.

GM workers joined striking Aramark-employed janitors on the picket lines Sunday night at a sprawling factory on the border between Detroit and the small town of Hamtramck.

Worker Patty Thomas said she wasn’t scheduled to picket, but came out to support her colleagues at the car plant, which GM wants to close. She said workers gave up cost-of-living pay raises to help GM get through bankruptcy, and workers want some of that back now that the company is in the black.

Striking GM employees were joined on the picket lines by workers from Ford and Fiat Chrysler, who are working under contract extensions.

Night shift workers at an aluminum castings factory in Bedford, Indiana, that makes transmission casings and other parts shut off their machines and headed for the exits, said Dave Green, a worker who transferred from the now-shuttered GM small-car factory in Lordstown, Ohio.

UAW worker at GM assembly plant in Flint, Michigan, hold signs and cheer as workers drive out of the plant as they go on strike early on September 16, 2019JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Green, a former local union president, said he agrees with the strike over wages, plant closures and other issues. “If we don’t fight now, when are we going to fight?” he asked. “This is not about us. It’s about the future.”

Starting at midnight, the sound of cheers and car horns filled the night air around GM’s assembly plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, reports the CBS affiliate there, WANE-TV, as passing motorists expressed support for the strikers. UAW Local 2209 members gathered at the plant exits with picket signs.

There was a similar scene at the Parma, Ohio GM plant, reports CBS Cleveland affiliate WOIO-TV.

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