FLINT, MI – Five people were injured Tuesday after a car drove through a group of people demonstrating outside the GM Flint Processing Center in Michigan. Demonstrators were participating in the ongoing UAW union strike. The driver has not yet been located.
Matt Bade, the chief of police for the Metro Police Authority of Genesee County, said about five people had minor injuries after the incident, and two people were transported to a local hospital for treatment. The incident occurred around 4 p.m. outside the facility at 6060 West Bristol Road in Swartz Creek.
According to a report from MLive, protesters were reportedly blocking an exit on West Bristol Road when the vehicle drove through the group of people.
According to police the driver of the vehicle fled the scene and has yet to be located. According to UAW Region 1-D President Steve Dawes, the model of the vehicle involved was possibly a Chevrolet HHR or Chrysler PT Cruiser and was painted in some kind of dark color.
The UAW members have been on strike against GM, Ford, and Stellantis following the expiration of the previous labor contracts on September 14. The union is currently employing a targeted strike strategy where workers are striking only certain facilities, rather than all workers at all facilities all at once.
No agreements have been reached yet.
UAW Local 440 members at GM Bedford Casting Operations are still working but without a contract but are ready to hit the picket lines.
They held a Solidarity Rally on Sunday, September 24th at Harp Commons in Bedford. There was food, speakers, and solidarity.
Local UAW Local 440 President Derek Cronin.
“We are ready to stand up and fight when called upon,” said Local UAW Local 440 President Derek Cronin.
“Right now this fight is about not getting the dignity and respect we deserve,” added Cronin. “For the long hours and work we put in. We work seven days a week 12 hours a day. That work needs to be dignified. This is about the working class the ones that work for a living.
There are 550 union members of the Bedford GM Powertrain plant and approximately 703 employees in total. The Bedford plant is served by two unions the United Auto Workers which represent the production workers and the International Brother Electrical Workers which represent the skill trades.
The UAW expanded its strike last week to include 38 parts distribution facilities at GM and Stellantis, citing a lack of substantial progress in contract negotiations between the union and the two automakers.
The UAW opted not to expand strikes against Ford, stating that more substantial progress had been made in negotiations. The GM Flint Processing Center in Swartz Creek was among those facilities called on to strike in last week’s expansion. Workers are represented by UAW Local 659.
The Detroit Three automaker, General Motors is the most at risk for damage to its sales this year from a prolonged strike. if the strike expands to more plants and persists into the fall, the supply of new vehicles – already tight – will shrink even more.
Parts suppliers have felt the most collateral damage with some having to lay off hundreds of workers due to a lack of work at the closed facilities on strike. Many suppliers are worried about the solvency of their business if the strike persists. All three automakers, too, have had to lay off thousands connected to the striking facilities.