The news that union negotiators had made a preliminary deal with GM after more than a month of meeting in Detroit was received with cautious optimism by workers who had experienced many challenges during the struggle. They missed paychecks and kept increasing cold temperatures until they waited for signs of concessions. Workers will be able to vote on it, but not until the approximately 175 GM union leaders across the country meet in Detroit on Thursday to approve it first.
So the strike continues at least until then.
With more than 1
million lost working days, the strike is one of the biggest in the last 25 years. This is part of a boom in which both unions and other employee groups have switched from fast food to technology. Companies are becoming more active than ever before. A favorable agreement for workers could help to inspire more.
"We have almost forgotten what a strike is in this country," said Harley Shaiken, a labor expert at the University of California at Berkeley. "Yet, in recent years, we've seen an increase in strikes and labor disputes – a response to the insecurity and vulnerability that so many workers are feeling – and I think this strike by the UAW and GM is really building on that."
The strike has cast a spell on the world of politics, and pickets have served as a stage – and a topic for discussion – for the leading candidates of the democratic race 2020.
However, the signs of the economic toll of the strike have increased in recent weeks in auto production zones stretched from the Midwest to Canada and Mexico, raising fears that the strike could drive vulnerable areas into localized recession B. Flint, where numerous companies and families depend on automobiles.
The Anderson Economic Group , an East Lansing-based consulting firm, estimates that A $ 75,000 workers were dismissed because of the strike or their working hours were reduced, about half of those in Michigan. The analysts of the group estimate that losses are on the rise for GM workers, who lost $ 835 million in wages, and the federal government, which has lost $ 313 million in income and payroll taxes.
Michigan lost $ 18.5 million in tax revenue. The US Department of Labor announced it had processed 7,000 jobless claims for auto workers in the period from September 15 to October 5, an enormous increase over the 400 in the same period of 2018.
Suppliers These include Adient, Cooper Standard, American Axle & Manufacturing, Magna, ZF North America, the Busche Performance Group and Android Industries. Flint alone had companies such as Lear Corp., a manufacturer of seating and electric parts, Universal Dedicated Transportation Services, and Genesee Packaging layoffs UAW instead of their paychecks, came by on Wednesday to pick up grocery bags donated by United Way.
"I did not spend any money. Just hang out. I just stay near the house, "said John Brooks, 67, a 51-year-old GM employee, in front of the UAW Local 659 building." You know, it's hard, man I have a small nest egg in which I am immersed. "
United Way of Genesee County has been filling 800 boxes of non-perishable food such as noodles and peanut butter every week since the strike started. It also runs a hotline that helps workers cope with other financial hurdles – such as late mortgage, auto or utility payments – that have been swamped by calls lately, said CEO Jamie Gaskin. This is a low price for a fairer contract with GM, which has made $ 35 billion in profits over the last three years. As of Wednesday, however, it was difficult to determine how many of the demands of the UAW were met or whether both sides were just looking for a way to overcome the deadlock.
Many picket workers said they wanted to change the graduated pay system that GM has been strengthening in recent years. It now takes about eight years for employees to grow from $ 17 an hour to full pay, which is about $ 28 per hour. Another issue is the increasing use of temporary workers in the company. These workers account for about seven percent of the company's workforce and often do the same work to reduce pay, reduce benefits and reduce job security.
GM has stated that it can not afford to pay more for labor costs while noting the amount of money Expenditure per worker is already higher than that of foreign automakers whose US factories are not unionized. It also highlighted the health benefits that workers have – workers currently pay around three to four percent of their health care plans, well below the national average.
Joel Lock and John Garcia, Electricians aged 28 and 22 Based on their experience with GM, they stated that they would not vote for the ratification of a contract that does not include provisions requiring that long-term temporary workers be recruited as full-time workers ,
Talking to a reporter standing in front of a blazing hearth At the Flint Assembly Plant on Wednesday, they said they were surprised at how long the strike lasted. Still, they had got used to the boring routine of commuting back and forth between the picket line and their homes.
Garcia said he first knew what he would do after the end of the strike.