GM workers strike for higher wages, job security

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 7:14pm

About 50,000 General Motors workers went on strike Sunday evening in protest against GM’s failure to produce a new four-year contract with the United Auto Workers union. The workers, who are currently on the second day of their strike, demand higher wages and more permanent employment, among other issues. 

With 31 GM factories and nine states participating, the strike is now the largest organized labor movement in the United States in 12 years. The last strike against GM took place in 2007 and ended in an agreement between the company and the nearly 73,000 workers who joined the strike. 

GM officials are currently engaged in a series of negotiations to heed the strikers’ demands and bring workers back to work. So far, the company has pledged to honor four of the workers’ demands, including investing $7 billion in its U.S. plants and improving their profit-sharing formula.

General Motors, which is currently headquartered in Detroit, was founded in 1908 in Flint and remains one of the foremost auto manufacturing companies in the U.S. While more than one-third of Michigan workers were employed in auto manufacturing jobs in 1970 and only 18 percent in 2016, Michigan remains the number one state for auto-manufacturing in the country.  In 2017, nearly 18.5 percent of all vehicles manufactured in the U.S. were built in the state.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., joined strikers on the picket lines Monday afternoon. In a statement, Dingell expressed her support for UAW members and urged GM to support their employees and listen to their concerns. 

“Through thick and thin, UAW workers have devoted themselves to building quality product,” Dingell said. “Now GM must demonstrate their commitment to the hard-working men and women who have given everything to build for GM’s success. Supporting American manufacturing starts with supporting American workers. We are stronger united. It’s time for both sides to sit down and work out an agreement.”