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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  • by Anonymous Location: Bowling Green on Sep 24, 2007 at 08:10 PM
    I think that UAW employees should take a hard look at the impact that this could have on their empoyers profitability. One would think that 70% decrease in employees in just 13 years would signal an alarm that they were draining the company that they depend on for their lively hood's resources. When compared with other non union automakers GM, which has report marginal to negative earnings over the past 5 years, and Toyota, which reported an average of 26% growth in its per share earnings in the same time period, GM pays nearly $50 per hour more to its employees for wages and benefits than Toyota. I am all for FAIR wages and benefits but I would not want to think that my greed was the demise of my employment. The remaining 73,000 GM employees should exercise extreme caution in the decisions that they make, as well as other UAW members.
  • by Dale Location: Bowling Green on Sep 24, 2007 at 05:51 PM
    It seems obvious to GM and the rest of the country that GM cannot continue to exist with the UAW. The only people who this is not obvious to is the UAW workers themselves. The Japanese and the Korean automakers currently have somewhere between a twenty and thirty dollar per hour advantage over GM. You have brought the once Big Three to their knees. Congratulations your UAW has effectively bitten off the hand that feeds you. The average middleclass family in this country cannot afford to purchase the automobiles you produce. Take a look around at the rest of the country. Look at our pay, health insurance, and retirement packages, compare it to your own. The UAW has handed the market to the Japanese and the Koreans. If the strike holds out, this will have a severe impact to the economy. It is important that everyone American knows that this rest on the shoulders of each and every UAW member, not the domestic automakers. The brainwashing has gone on to long.
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