(BEDFORD) – As the UAW strike against General Motors enters its second week on Monday, the damage to the Lawrence County economy is growing.
A strike that lingers into weeks creates wounds not so easily healed.
Negotiators met all day on Sunday at GM’s headquarters in downtown Detroit with no clear end in sight.
“They’re still talking,” says United Auto Workers union spokesman Brian Rothenberg.
UAW vice president Terry Dittes noted that “some progress has been made” but many issues “remain unresolved.”
The workers left their jobs early Monday, September 16, after their four-year contract with the company expired. This is the first national strike by the UAW since 2007 when the union shut down General Motors for two days.
Workers are seeking a bigger slice of GM’s profits, retention of a health insurance plan in which workers pay about 4% of the costs, an improved pension and assurances that GM — the maker of Buick, Cadillac, GMC, and Chevrolet — will not close four plants in Maryland, Ohio, and Michigan, and a path to permanent jobs for temporary workers.
GM wants to lower its labor costs so they’re closer to the compensation for workers at US factories owned by foreign automakers.
Workers and the Lawrence County community will begin to feel the pressure. GM employees got their last paycheck last week and will have to start living on $250 per week in strike pay starting beginning this week.
Both Democrats and Republicans have been quick to back United Auto Workers in their strike against General Motors.
Today, speaking briefly with reporters, President Trump called for the two sides to reach an agreement and said that “federal mediation is always possible if that’s what they want.”
Bedford Republican Mayoral candidate Sam Craig said, “As we all know, General Motors and its employment of our citizens is vital to our community. It is my hope that an agreement is reached soon so that the great work they do can resume. Times like this are very trying for our family and friends. We must all work together towards a resolution that benefits both parties and the community.”
Democratic Mayoral candidate Rowena Cross-Najafi said, “Believing in Bedford means believing in Bedford’s workers. Our campaign strongly and unequivocally supports the UAW workers standing in the picket lines at Central Foundry as they fight for fair wages and health care for their families and loved ones. The workers at General Motors Bedford provide so much to our community, and we are proud to stand behind them as negotiations continue to bring an end to this dispute. We stand for the 745 workers, and their families, in our community who sacrificed so much when General Motors was on the verge of failure a few years ago, and who deserve a fair deal now that G.M. is back to full strength.”
Contract negotiations continue today in Detroit.