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UAW attackers in Texas watch Detroit as union leaders meet with GM



About 1,200 miles south of Detroit, several thousand UAW workers in Texas follow the news of the Renaissance Center daily.

RenCen joins negotiators for UAW and General Motors in GM trade talks. the union contract expired on 1

4 September. This prompted about 46,000 union members to launch a nationwide strike against GM in two days.

These strikes involve nearly 5,000 workers at the GM Assembly Plant in Arlington, Texas.

"I don't have. I didn't hear anyone say, 'Let's go back to work,'" said Mike Cartwright, a union worker at the plant. – They want to get back to work, but they want to hear from the meeting table that they have an agreement.

On Friday, Terry Dittes, UAW's lead negotiator with GM, said to the strikers that the two sides had made "good progress on health care and the path of temporary staff members." He said work remained in the area of ​​pay, job security and other issues – though temporary workers and health care are known to be key issues.

Some analysts estimate that the strike cost GM about $ 1 billion so far, and workers receive only their strike UAW pays $ 250 a week.

More: GM can withstand UAW strike losses – because it can get it

More: UAW rejects GM's latest proposal, telling members it "came up short & # 39;

Right to Work

Nearly all of Arlington's 5,000 working hours belong to the UAW, which is notable given that Texas has been a law-abiding state since 1941, which means that under the Labor Code person Cannot be denied employment through membership or non-preparation for a trade union or other work organization.

Michigan Tacos is a job of employment in recent years, but with a much deeper union history than Texas.

in Arlington say UAW members are committed to this strike.

"We were one of the factories with a large percentage of UAW members authorized on strike, "said Ken Hines, head of the store at UAW Local 276." Nobody wants to strike, but we thought we needed to win some of the bankruptcy we received. "

One of these is the housing allowance that union members want to recover, among other issues.

Gaines stated that most strikers prefer to return to work but are ready for a long strike and will "continue to sacrifice as long as needed."

The trade union wants to ensure job security, higher pay and a way for workers to be hired on a permanent basis, with better pay and benefits. GM wants to reduce its costs, preferably by hiring more temporary workers.

The union also wants to protect its health benefits, while GMs are said to want union members to pay more than 3% of the total costs they currently pay.

The parties are at odds with each other, which means that Saturday is the 20th day of the strike.

50-year-old Haynes ensured that his members would be ready for a long strike. Since the beginning of last year, it reminds members at any union meeting to start saving their money.

"Because you never know what the future holds and we wanted to make sure our membership was prepared in the event of a strike," Haines said.

Hines has phone numbers for o According to him, 1,700 members of his union are programmed into his mobile phone. He had exchanged text messages about half since the strike began to check their well-being.

"There are some who are struggling," Hines said. Usually, these are temporary workers who earn less and do not get overtime to save money.

Hines stated that he directed them to food banks. In addition, local residents and businesses donated food, money, and other items to the local union hall for those in need.

American Dream City

The 59-year-old Cartwright is financially well placed to go on strike. He has been to these union meetings and remembers Hines saying, "Hey, remember, it's contract time, and we don't know what to expect to save your money."

Cartwright worked at GM for 34 years. He spent six years at the GM Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant in Kansas City, Kansas. The rest of his time was in Arlington, a huge area of ​​5.75 million square feet, located on 250 acres directly between Dallas and Fort Worth.

Arlington is the American Dream City, according to an official government website. The GM site says the plant knocks out 1200 of GM's most profitable vehicles every day: Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon and full-size Cadillac Escalade SUVs.

"We know that we are 'making a lot of money for the corporation here,'" Cartwright said.

However, Hines and Cartwright said that workers in Arlington want confidence that GM will invest in manufacturing in the US and will not stop designating vehicles there, as GM did a l crash at four other plants in the United States.

GM has stated that it will be indefinitely idle by Detroit-Hamtramck, the Lordstown Assembly in Ohio, as well as the transfer station in Warren and one in Baltimore. As part of its initial proposal to the UAW, GM proposed a decision to retain Detroit-Hamtramck by building an electric pickup truck and providing a battery manufacturing site in the Lordstown area. GM said it would invest $ 7 billion in U.S. manufacturing and create or retain 5,400 jobs.

More: GM Lordstown's fate is not settled as contract negotiations remain: What can happen

More: GM promises UAW 5,400 jobs, $ 7 billion investment: what it means

More support

Cartwright has gone through past strikes. In 2007, the UAW went on strike for two days against GM. Cartwright said the community was less supportive at the time, wondering why workers were on strike.

But this time it's different. He said GM is a "wonderful company" that works with UAW employees to do local charity.

"We do a lot of community work here and we have a relationship with business and organizations, so we get more support this time from the community," Cartwright said. "Now that we have problems, we don't need them explain. People know what we're going for. "

Cartwright said there are 10 gates in Arlington, and there are about 10 pickets in front of them every day. Everyone picks up 4 hours a week, and often union members at other industries are picketing in solidarity with them.

Members also browse social media, email and websites for any updated strike news.

"Our key issues are paying for our benefits and dealing with temporary workers, ”Cartwright said. Most of us have been here for years, the temporary worker does not affect us. But it's about all of us, and we want it to be fair. It is set up here that everyone understands that this is a process that we have to go through, and we must support our leadership. "

For the first time, it is striking to many in Arlington," Cartwright said. They now see and feel the victims. "

And in his right state, Cartwright said that the strike would serve" to improve our membership and our ties. "

Contact Jamie L. LaRow: 313- 222-2149 or jlareau@freepress.com Follow her on Twitter @ jlareauan Learn more about General Motors and subscribe to our newsletter.


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