As New York union members likely know, auto workers have gone on strike across the country against General Motors. This is the first strike in the industry in over a decade, and workers at 31 factories and 21 other GM facilities are participating in the action. The walkout marks the largest strike in the country since the last GM worker action in 2007. Union workers declared their plans to strike in a press conference on Sept. 15, saying that they are seeking higher wages and improved profit-sharing.
Union representatives noted that collective bargaining is ongoing in order to reach a new contract. Workers noted that they sacrificed and worked 10 years ago to help GM get out of bankruptcy after the 2008 financial crisis. They want GM to stop using so many temporary workers and provide a clear mechanism for them to become permanent employees. Other issues, including health care benefits, also divide the two sides. Workers are also concerned about four GM plants planned for closure in the coming period. The company said that it had proposed a “solution” for two of the four plants, and sources indicated that the company planned to move toward electric vehicle production at two of the factories.
The union has emphasized that keeping these plants open and protecting workers’ jobs are major priorities in collective bargaining. GM has more factories in the U.S. than in Mexico or Canada and builds most of its vehicles in the country. The United Auto Workers union has already reached contracts with Ford and Fiat Chrysler, other major automakers.
Unions are an important means for workers to act collectively to protect their rights and advance their interests. A labor law attorney can work with employees who want to organize in order to advocate for their goals.