Striking auto workers head into weekend with no deal in sight with General Motors

Global Business

Signs are stacked during a demonstration outside a General Motors facility in Langhorne, Pa., Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers walked off General Motors factory floors or set up picket lines early Monday as contract talks with the company deteriorated into a strike. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The auto workers strike against U.S. carmaker General Motors was set to head into the weekend with no resolution in sight.

Nearly 50,000 union members walked off the job in a dispute over pay, temporary worker conditions, health care, and job security.

CGTN’s Dan Williams reports.

Those on the picket line remain defiant. And many are preparing themselves for the long haul.

“The mood is still really good. We have a lot of support. People are still upbeat. We realize this could be a long strike and it could take a while to resolve. But we are here to the end,” GM worker John Hatline said.

A steady stream of cars blow their horns in support of the strikers. Many here point to a sense of betrayal.

Ten years ago, GM received some $50 billion from U.S. taxpayers when the federal government acted to bail the company out of bankruptcy.

Workers pay was frozen, more temporary workers were brought in on lower wages and plants were closed.

The company has since roared back into the black. In the last two years alone, its North American operations made more than twenty billion dollars in profit.

Joe Ryan, a GM worker and a representative of the UAW union, Local 22, said it’s time those profits were shared.

“We did so much, we sacrificed a lot for this company. We haven’t had a raise in ten years. And we sacrificed that, so now the sacrifice is over. Everybody understands. And I believe we are all on the same page. We are in this together,” Ryan said.

Relations were further soured this week when GM dropped healthcare coverage for striking workers. The Union is working to close the gap, picking up the cost to cover workers. But the process is lengthy.

Talks are continuing. The UAW said GM’s proposals still fall short in key areas.

The announcement that GM would lay off workers at a company plant in Canada shows the strike is taking a toll.

Michael Martinez of Automotive News said it is in inevitable that other companies and suppliers will be impacted.

“So the longer this strike goes on, the more you are going to see the ripple effects happening here in Michigan and throughout the country. Likely, it would need to be a couple of weeks before you see suppliers really laying people off. It remains to be seen how long this is going to last but both sides seem pretty dug in,” Martinez said.

How long this strike lasts is indeed difficult to predict. But those on this picket line appear determined to see it through.