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49K Striking Auto Workers Shut Down 33 Plants

UAW workers strike against GM
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 16, 2019 4:51 AM CDT
United Auto Workers members picket outside the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Hamtramck, Mich., early Monday, Sept. 16, 2019.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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(Newser) – More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers walked off General Motors factory floors or set up picket lines early Monday as contract talks with the company deteriorated into a strike. Workers shut down 33 manufacturing plants in nine states across the US, as well as 22 parts distribution warehouses. It wasn't clear how long the walkout would last, with the union saying GM has budged little in months of talks while GM said it made substantial offers including higher wages and factory investments, the AP reports. It's the first national strike by the union since a two-day walkout in 2007 that had little impact on the company. Striking GM employees were joined on the picket lines by workers from Ford and Fiat Chrysler, who are working under contract extensions.

GM workers joined striking Aramark-employed janitors assigned to GM facilities on the picket lines Sunday night at a sprawling factory on the border between Detroit and the small town of Hamtramck. Worker Patty Thomas said she wasn't scheduled to picket, but came out to support her colleagues at the car plant, which GM wants to close. She's heard talk that GM may keep the factory open and start building electric pickup trucks there, but she's skeptical. She said workers gave up cost-of-living pay raises to help GM get through bankruptcy, and workers want some of that back now that the company is making profits. Talks were scheduled to resume early Monday. In a tweet, President Trump urged GM and the UAW to "get together and make a deal!"

(Read more United Auto Workers stories.)

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