Nearly 49,000 workers went on strike after contract talks broke down over the weekend. This impacts around 4,500 workers at the General Motors Plant in Wentzville. Both sides went back to the bargaining table on Monday and Tuesday. Glenn Kage, president of United Auto Workers Local 2250 in Wentzville, said he hasn’t heard any details from Detroit on how those negotiations are going, but he thinks “the strike has opened the eyes of General Motors.”
“I don’t know if they thought we were prepared to strike. Our strike is to send a message to GM that it’s time for them to pay back what we have given up over the course of the last number of years. General Motors has made records profits during this existing contract and they’re asking us to make concessions. They acting like they’re still in bankruptcy.” Kage explained.
“It’s important to note that General Motors never would have achieved profitability if it were not for the help from the American taxpayers when they provided bridge loans in 2009 and then the United Auto Workers opened up their contract and took major concessions, which allowed General Motors to regain profitability. We have waited 9 years. General Motors has made over $40 billion in profits over the last 4 years. It’s our turn to ask for some of that back now.” Kage added.
Wages, health benefits, and temporary workers are at the center of this labor dispute.
“They get 3 days of vacation a year, no benefits. We get profit sharing. They don’t. They’ve been temps for 4 1/2 years. It you have an anniversary, you’re no longer a temp. You’re permanent.” David French, a 41 year employee said while picketing outside of the Wentzville General Motor’s Plant.
Leaders with General Motors haven’t released details about the negotiations. However, the company did release the following statement on Monday:
“Negotiations have resumed. Our goal remains to reach an agreement that builds a stronger future for our employees and our business.”