U.S. Reps. Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rev up crowd at UAW 2250 rally

UAW Stand Up Strike – the first to target all three automakers – enters second week

Missouri Correspondent

REVVING UP STRIKING AUTOWORKERS, U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) addresses a packed house during a solidarity rally at the UAW Local 2250 union hall in Wentzville on Sept. 24. She was joined by (from left) Local 2250 President Katie Deatherage, U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) and UAW Region 4 Region 4 Director Brandon Campbell. – Labor Tribune photo

Wentzville – U.S. Congresswomen Cori Bush (D-MO) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) joined UAW Local 2250 members at the Local 2250 union hall here Sunday, Sept. 24, to show their support for striking autoworkers as they fight for better wages and working conditions.

UAW members at three assembly plants, including Local 2250, walked out Sept. 14 as part of a targeted strike against the Big Three automakers – Ford, General Motors and Chrysler parent Stellantis. The UAW Stand Up Strike is the first ever to target all three automakers.

On Friday, UAW President Shawn Fain expanded the strike to include 38 additional parts and distribution centers at GM and Stellantis plants in 20 states. The union did not strike at any additional Ford plants due to progress made in contract negotiations.

“When executives can afford yachts and multiple vacation homes, yet their workers struggle to afford to pay for housing – that’s a red flag and it’s time for a change,” said Bush, whose father was a union meat cutter. “Now that’s a simple concept to me. When workers who build the Chevy Colorado cannot afford to buy a Chevy Colorado, that’s a red flag.”

U.S. REP. CORY BUSH speaks to a standing-room only crowd during the Sept. 24 solidarity rally for UAW autoworkers at the UAW Local 2250 union hall in Wentzville. – Labor Tribune photo

The UAW is demanding a 40 percent wage increase over the next four years – that’s about the same in compensation packages for the chief executives of the three companies on average over the last four years. It’s also asking for a 32-hour workweek, an end to tiers and cost-of-living adjustments.

“When the Big 3 raise their prices on cars over 35 percent over the last four years, but UAW wages have only gone up six percent in that same time – that’s a red flag,” Bush said “Your demands are not radical, they’re reasonable.”

Ocasio-Cortez echoed Bush’s sentiments. She said while the economy looks good on paper with GDP and job numbers up, it is in a crisis right now where people – including autoworkers – are having to choose between medicine and rent and childcare and work.

“What the figures in Washington and Wall Street don’t reflect is that in a time of record profits, the CEOs of the Big 3 are giving themselves 40 percent raises and billions of dollars to manipulate stock prices off your back-breaking labor,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “The reality is we are absolutely living in an economic crisis of inequality.”

UAW Region 4 Region 4 Director Brandon Campbell said members of UAW have always been champions for social and economic justice.

U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN Cori Bush (D-MO), UAW Local 2250 President Katie Deatherage and U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on the picket line at the General Motors plant in Wentzville, Mo. – Philip Deitch photo

“Our fight for civil rights and human rights isn’t just a cause, it’s an investment in our collective future,” Campbell said. “That fight for equality is a fight against corporate greed and it’s a never-ending battle between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots.’ Now is our time, and we cannot let that continue. We cannot back down.”

Local 2250 President Katie Deatherage, Local 2250’s first female president, thanked the crowd for joining the rally and the UAW in its fight for a better contract.

“We’re standing up for a fair contract,” Deatherage said. “We’re standing up to end tiers. We’re standing up for job security and we’re standing up to corporate greed. I’m proud of UAW Local 2250 and I’m proud to be your president. You are amazing, and thank you for always conducting yourselves with dignity and class.”

If you’d like to help, Local 2250 needs refreshments and snacks as well as your help on the picket lines. To join Local 2250 in its efforts, stop by one of five gates at the GM Wentzville Assembly plant at 1500 State Highway A, Wentzville, MO 63385.

UAW Local 2250 member explains why autoworkers deserve their fair share

Wentzville, MO – UAW Local 2250’s Jacob Williams took to social media last week to personally share why he was on the picket line as negotiations between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the Big Three automakers continued. Here’s what he had to say:

“We’re out here fighting to try to get GM to make good on their promises. We gave up $2-an-hour in cost-of-living adjustments, and we never got it back, which that wasn’t the agreement.

“We’re waiting till they make good on that promise. We’re in here making the products that make all the profits for this company, and we want a fair share of the profits of the product of our own labor.

“If profits go up and CEO pay goes up, then worker pay should also go up. The people getting the raises shouldn’t be the ones signing the papers. It should be the ones in here putting this stuff together and building things.

“They’re doing the same thing to us that they did to the UPS, saying we’re going to make $150,000 a year as an employee in here. Why is that? Because they’re including the health care and other benefits.

“It’s not the actual pay that we take home, but it’s the benefits that we should be getting from these companies anyway. Most of what we’re asking is just trying to get back what we had given up then.

“They’re pretending that that we’re asking a lot when it was just it’s false promises that we’re waiting for them to fulfill.”

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