UAW Members Picket at Corvette Plant

By: Forrest Sanders Email
By: Forrest Sanders Email

6,080--that's how many cars, trucks, and SUVs were not made in the eight hours after the United Auto Workers walked off the job.

The strike is against General Motors because the UAW and GM have yet to work out a contract agreement.

There are 80,000 UAW employees striking across the country on Sept. 24, and nearly 1,000 of them are accounted for in Bowling Green.

They're all employees at the Corvette plant, and they're picketing in four hour shifts, around the clock, to get their message across.

At 10 a.m. on Sept. 24, the first shift of Corvette plant employees picketed for better pay and benefits.

"We believe that we need to keep the standard of living up in this country, and the only way we can do that is by having fair wages and benefits," explained Eldon Renaud, local UAW president.

UAW members are accusing GM of cutting costs that benefit employees. It's an issue that GM wanted settled without a public demonstration.

"We're disappointed in UAW's decision to call a nationwide strike. The bargaining affects complex issues that affect the job security of the U.S. job force," said GM spokesman Tom Wickham.

But UAW employees argue that they were left without a choice when the strike deadline rolled around with still no resolution.

"We set a strike deadline for when we needed a contract, and the international has been working hour by hour since then. They couldn't reach an agreement, so we're out until they do," Renaud said.

Now, this group of picketers has their shade and their water, and they're waiting for a negotiation, no matter how long it takes.

"We're fully committed to working with the UAW to develop solutions together to handle the competitive challenges facing GM," Wickham added.

"So as soon as they get back together again, they'll start working on a solution, and hopefully, that'll be a short one. We're prepared to do whatever's necessary," Renaud said.

The last time GM experienced a nationwide strike was 37 years ago.

In 1970, the workers did not return for 67 days, but this time, both officials from General Motors and the United Auto Workers say the problem will be resolved more quickly.

Negotiations have resumed since the strike began.


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