By TIM ROWDEN
As the United Auto Workers strike against General Motors hits the one month mark this week, GM is showing signs of fatigue, telling hourly and salaried employees in a letter last week that it is “critical” the strike end and a tentative contract agreement is reached.
The letter, written by Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of manufacturing, said GM’s most recent proposal was a good faith effort and accused the union of moving too slowly to end the strike.
UAW leaders say GM was “playing games” at the expense of workers.
‘ONE DAY LONGER IN SOLIDARITY’
In a video sent to union members, the UAW’s lead negotiator, Terry Dittes, said wages and a pathway for temporary workers to become permanent employees remain key issues to be secured. He said the union is working around the clock to get a good agreement and urged members to last “one day longer in solidarity.”
Some 49,000 UAW workers across the country have been on strike since contract negotiations broke down at midnight on Sept. 15.
GM has made record profits for four of the last five years, but rather than making good on its promises to workers whose concessions a decade ago during the financial crisis helped keep the company afloat, the company has pared its United States workforce, increased use of temporary workers, closed several plants and moved more work to Mexico.
Glenn Kage, president of UAW Local 2250, representing 4,500 workers at GM’s Wentzville Assembly Plant, said “They want everybody to get to the table and get this thing resolved, but there’s still some sticking points and separation on some of the issues. “Our members are walking the line 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we’ll continue doing that until we get this resolved.”
‘FAMILIES ARE SUFFERING’
In an official statement issued last Friday, Oct. 11, the UAW said:
“Since the beginning of this negotiation, GM has not taken the issue of our more than 48,000 members seriously. In fact, at every step of the way, GM has attempted to undermine the ongoing, good-faith efforts the UAW has made to end this strike.
“The company’s strategy from day one has been to play games at the expense of the workers. It has released half-truths, ripped away health care in the middle of the night and it reverted to previously weak and unacceptable proposals in response to the UAW’s comprehensive solutions.
“Our members are ready to get back to work, but GM is purposefully stalling the process to starve UAW-GM workers off the picket lines to protect millions of dollars of corporate bonuses.
“These delaying tactics have human costs. Families are suffering, from Detroit to Texas to New York. This strike has been and continues to be about securing the American workers’ future.
“The UAW continues to stay at the table night and day to get a good deal for our workers and to end this strike. We demand fair, middle class wages, quality benefits, a better pathway for temporary workers and job security.
“Our workers are behind us in this fight for a strong deal.”
HELP STRIKING UAW MEMBERS
The St. Louis Labor Council’s “$5 for the Fight “Fund has been providing assistance to local UAW members feeling the financial burden of the strike.
You can make a donation to the “$5 for the Fight” Fund by check or online.
- Mail a check or money order to “$5 for the Fight,” c/o St. Louis Labor Council, 3301 Hollenberg Drive, Bridgeton, Mo. 63044. Please include your union affiliation.
- To make an online donation, visit labortribune.com/5-for-the-fight/. An option to create a recurring automated donation is also available.
One hundred percent of every donation to “$5 or the Fight” goes to the Fight Fund, and 100 percent of the money in the fund goes to help working families in need.
Union members who turn to the fund do not receive the funds directly. Instead, following confirmation of union membership and an evaluation interview with a Labor liaison at the United Way, the Fund contacts creditors, landlords, mortgage lenders, hospitals, etc. and makes payments directly to those creditors on the union members’ behalf.
You can also provide assistance to UAW members directly by mailing a check made payable to UAW Local 2250 to UAW Local 2250, 1395 E. Pearce Blvd., Wentzville, Mo. 63385.
Medicine Shoppe pharmacies step up for striking UAW members
Medicine Shoppe pharmacies are stepping up to help United Auto Workers on strike against General Motors with delayed billing on pharmacy orders to help members and their families meet their medication needs without breaking the bank.
Participating Medicine Shoppe locations include: Lake St. Louis, St. Charles, Troy, Elsberry and Montgomery City.
Jerry Callahan, co-owner of a number of the participating locations, came up with the idea as a way to help families facing temporary financial constraints as a result of the strike and said owners at the other Medicine Shoppe locations readily agreed to participate.
“We’ll set up an account to charge their co-pays and bill their credit cards when they get back to work,” said Jerry Callahan, co-owner of a number of the participating Medicine Shoppe locations said. “When they’re back to work, we’ll let them know how much we’ll be billing their credit card, or they can come into the store and pay it in person.”
Nearly 49,000 UAW workers across the country, including some 4,500 UAW Local 2250 members employed at GM’s Wentzville Assembly Plant, have been on strike since Sept. 16, when contract negotiations broke down.
Callahan said the delayed billing arrangement could be extended to other Medicine Shoppe locations if UAW members living near those locations need it.
“They should ask at their Medicine Shoppe if they’re participating,” Callahan said.