GM strike enters 4th week with support from another union

Updated: Oct. 7, 2019 at 10:43 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Members from National Nurses United, the country’s largest registered nurses union, are joining local autoworkers on the picket line at the Memphis GM Customer Care and Aftersales Center on Pleasant Hill Road.

About 100 people joined a rally outside the facility on Monday.

United Auto Workers members began the strike on Sept. 16 after they say GM scrapped workers’ healthcare benefits.

GM workers in Memphis are joining nearly 50,000 others across the country in the largest strike in 12 years.

Union leaders in Memphis said they're looking for several things, including better healthcare and secure jobs for temporary employees.

“We are standing on the line for everyone,” local UAW President Glinder Louis said. “What we gain, everyone else gains because it boosts the economy. If we can get what we want or even close to what we want, it boosts the economy.”

National UAW leaders said GM is putting profits over employees.

GM employees said they're the ones who got the company through bankruptcy and the bailout.

In a letter to members on Sunday, UAW Vice-President Terry Dittes said talks between the sides had “taken a turn for the worse.”

Dittes said while the union will continue to negotiate, a proposal by GM over the weekend was inadequate.

Dittes said GM's proposal was a counter to one the union offered, which addressed wages, signing bonuses, job security, pensions, skilled trades, profit sharing, transfer rights, among other issues.

"The Company's response did nothing to advance a whole host of issues that are important to you and your families!" Dittes wrote. "It did nothing to provide job security during the term of the Agreement."

GM said it will continue "to negotiate in good faith with very good proposals that benefits employees today and builds a stronger future for all of us. We are committed to continuing discussions around the clock to reach a resolution."

Analysts say GM is losing $50 million to $100 million per day in lost productivity because of the strike.

It’s unclear how long the strike could last, but local UAW members say they will strike as long as it takes.

“We hope this don't last too much longer,” said Louis. “But stay strong because we are union strong out here on this line.”

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