As of midnight Sunday, UAW members at General Motors have gone on strike. The 2015 collective bargaining agreement between UAW and GM expired Saturday after GM offered an inadequate new contract. Nearly 50,000 workers are now on strike. They are demanding fair wages, affordable health care, a share of profits, job security and a defined path to permanent seniority for temporary workers.
UAW President Gary Jones said: “We told UAW GM members that we would stand up for them and their future.”
UAW Vice President Terry Dittes explained: “We stood up for General Motors when they needed us most. Now we are standing together in unity and solidarity for our members, their families and the communities where we work and live."
Ted Krumm of UAW Local 652, who is the national bargaining committee chair, further expanded upon the need for the strike:
We have been clear at the table about what GM members have indicated we will accept. We are standing up for what is right. We as local unions will sacrifice to stand up for what we deserve. Our members have spoken; we have taken action; and this is a decision we did not make lightly. We are committed to a strong contract at GM that recognizes our UAW members, who make some of the greatest products in the world and make GM so profitable.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) showed the federation's support for members of the UAW:
As our UAW brothers and sisters prepare to walk the picket line, the 12.5 million working people of the AFL-CIO are ready to march alongside them. Calling a strike is a deeply difficult decision and always a measure of last resort. This is a fight to win dignity for the 46,000 auto workers who have delivered their bosses record-breaking profits for years. We will have their backs every day until they win the respect and security that they deserve.
Other labor leaders, organizations and allies quickly showed their support for UAW members:
Always proud to stand with UAW members fighting for good jobs and fair wages. I’m hopeful the UAW and GM can negotiate and ratify a contract quickly so Michigan’s autoworkers can get back on the job as soon as possible, as this is so important to our economy. pic.twitter.com/BnVAFIlm9D— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) September 16, 2019
Statement of NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento on UAW’s Strike against General Motors https://t.co/6ahSY6RjUd— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) September 16, 2019
I stand in solidarity with workers as they fight for better wages and benefits.— Senator Gary Peters (@SenGaryPeters) September 15, 2019
Numerous presidential candidates also weighed in with their support for the UAW members:
Unions like @UAW built the middle class in America by negotiating for better wages, benefits and treatment in the workplace. That work continues today.— Michael Bennet (@MichaelBennet) September 16, 2019
I stand with UAW as they fight to ensure their members’ hard work is rewarded with a fair share of the success they’ve created.
A job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about dignity and respect.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 15, 2019
Proud to stand with @UAW to demand fair wages and benefits for their members. America's workers deserve better. https://t.co/vdYS3sp4eo
My grandfather was an assembly line worker & @UAW union rep outside of Detroit who showed me the power of collective action as a force to improve lives & right injustice. I stand with UAW workers in their fight for fair wages, better benefits & reversal of plant closures. https://t.co/zgXmm0m8jw— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) September 16, 2019
As a former union-side labor lawyer, I know how difficult of a decision this is for hardworking folks and their families. They deserve better wages, benefits, and job security. A company generating record profits should pay workers their fair share. https://t.co/rc3ll07SBO— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) September 16, 2019
The CEO of @GM made nearly $22 million dollars last year—281 times the median GM worker.— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) September 15, 2019
I stand with the 46,000 @UAW members who have moved to strike, fighting for affordable health care and fair wages.
GM can afford to do right by them.#StandWithUS #1U
I stand in solidarity with the more than 48,000 United Auto Workers members who are striking for affordable health care, fair wages, and job security. When we raise our voices together, we can win. https://t.co/VJOhoBqjs6— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 16, 2019
I am with the United Auto Workers on strike today—and with workers everywhere, fighting for the dignity they deserve.— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 16, 2019
Proud to be on the picket line w/ Lordstown @UAW members who are striking w/ 40,000+ of their sisters & brothers for fair wages & affordable healthcare, job security, a path for temp workers to become full-time workers and their share of GM's record-setting profits. #StandWithUS pic.twitter.com/dMvIZV2lfR— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) September 16, 2019
I am proud to support the @UAW workers who are standing up to the greed of GM. Our message to GM is a simple one: End the greed, sit down with the UAW and work out an agreement that treats your workers with the respect and the dignity they deserve. https://t.co/nAQoeX82oz— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 15, 2019
I stand with the 50,000 @UAW members striking at General Motors. GM must put the welfare of its workers above perks for its executives and provide fair wages, affordable healthcare, and secure jobs.— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) September 16, 2019
Auto workers deserve good wages, comprehensive benefits, and economic security. I stand with @UAW as they strike to get what they deserve, and urge GM to come to the table and negotiate in good faith. https://t.co/VRmL7VzSzt— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 16, 2019
Unions and the @UAW have been a force for worker equity and fair treatment for decades even as our economy has grown more inhuman and punishing. GM should value its workers fairly and compensate them what they deserve. https://t.co/hPwo38VOOp— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) September 16, 2019