Corvette Plant Strike Continues for Second Day

By Forrest Sanders | 

It's day two of the United Auto Workers national strike. With still no
agreement reached between the UAW and General Motors, those on the Bowling Green picket line are prepared for the long haul.

But some say their problems can't be completely solved by a negotiation between GM and UAW. It's an issue that has to be settled on a state and national level.

"The reality is that most American companies are not very competitive with overseas manufacturers right now and that's not due to our inability to compete. It's due to the fact that we're competing against low wage countries," explained David Peters, community services chair.

It's a concern that's driving a nationwide strike. Will the pay and benefits drastically decline for American auto workers to keep up with international markets?

"We want to maintain our standard of living--we want to grow and we want to be a great country. We don't want to be included in countries like Mexico, China and India where people live in squalor," said Eldon Renaud, local UAW president.

But right now, General Motors' goal is getting plants back up, the employees back in and the product out the door.

"The main concern right now is that we're in the middle of very sensitive negotiations with UAW and it's very important that we stay focused on that," explained Tom Wickham, General Motors spokesman.

But while those negotiations continue, some on the picket line say this is an issue that goes far beyond a resolution between GM and UAW.

"We have a gubernatorial election coming up, so we've got to look at who's working in our best interest," Renaud said.

"We can only change things around the fringes, but it's in November of this year in Frankfort and in November of next year in Washington that real change will be possible for the American worker," Peters added.

Renaud said the wages he's witnessed overseas are in the range of a dollar to two-dollars an hour. He added that while the strike can't fix that larger problem, he hopes it brings it to the attention of the American consumer.

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