As the UAW strike entered its 30th day on Tuesday, workers at the plant where the 2020 C8 Corvette will eventually be built told the Bowling Green Daily News they are encouraged about a resolution of the UAW strike soon.
In fact, the Associated Press is reporting today that a tentative four-year contract agreement has been reached by UAW and GM, though it appears workers are destined to remain on the picket line a few days longer until union committees and then the entire membership approve the deal.
“This has lasted a little bit longer than we anticipated,” one worker, Salina Alexander, admitted to the Daily News as she picketed Tuesday near the assembly plant in Bowling Green, Ky.
Workers began the strike on Sept. 16, seeking a bigger slice of GM profits, better job security, and a path to permanent jobs for temporary workers. GM, meanwhile, wants to keep labor costs lower to be more competitive with foreign automakers.
Even though the union just raised strike pay to $275 from $250, Alexander says being off the job for a month is starting to affect her and the other roughly 900 hourly workers at the Corvette plant. It’s the longest strike against GM since a 67-day stoppage in 1970.
Taking a break from his vacation, Donald Gross, one of the nearly 50,000 UAW workers striking at 55 GM facilities across the nation, stopped by the picket line in Bowling Green on Tuesday to offer his support for the UAW workers.
“I just wanted to let you know that we’re with you 100 percent,” the employee of the Chrysler Technology Center near Detroit told the workers as he visited their picket line on Interstate Drive.
Gross said he has seen first-hand the devastating effects of the strike on GM and automotive-related businesses in Michigan and is hopeful the strike will end soon as the company continues to feel the pressure to get its facilities up and running again.
“Inventories are running out,” Gross said. “People are calling this a one-state recession because of the impact. It’s affecting everybody, not just the people on the picket line.”
Of course, Corvette enthusiasts are especially mindful of the effects of the strike, as it has delayed the beginning of production of the widely anticipated mid-engine Stingray.
“We were still making the C7 when the strike happened,” Local 2164 Bargaining Chairman Jason Watson said. “We still have orders to fill for the C7. We can’t start making the new one until we finish those orders.”
Jack Bowers, president of Local 2164, says the union members just “want to go back to work.”
“The strike hurts everybody,” he said.
Bowling Green Daily News
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