Sept. 23 (UPI) — Tens of thousands of General Motors workers began the second week of their strike Monday in a labor dispute involving the United Auto Workers union that’s costing the automaker as much as $100 million per day.
Nearly 50,000 UAW members remain on the picket lines as negotiators work toward a new deal to send the workers back to their jobs. The walkout began Sept. 16.
There is no deal yet, preliminary or otherwise, promising that the walkout will continue for at least part of this week. The Detroit Free Press reported Monday a tentative agreement may not even return the employees to work, not until all rank-and-file UAW members approve it. The UAW GM council plans to keep workers on strike until the new contract is fully approved, which could mean weeks before the end of the walkout, the report said.
Analysts have said the strike is costing GM between $50 million and $100 million per day. UAW members are only earning $250 each week, without health coverage, in the interim.
The union is fighting for temporary workers to receive profit-sharing payouts and a pathway to become permanent employees, among other items.
The strike involving one of the world’s largest automakers attracted two Democratic presidential candidates over the weekend. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren joined the striking workers Sunday at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant.
“They want a contract here that keeps these jobs in America,” she said. “They want a fair wage. They want benefits. They want what it takes to be part of America’s middle class and they want the same for themselves and for temporary workers. Everybody deserves a living wage in the country. When unions win, all American workers win.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared on the bed of a pickup truck at the General Motors Fairfax plant in Kansas City.
“You’re making a hell of a sacrifice. You’re making a sacrifice going on strike because [GM]… they’re doing well,” Biden said. “I knew the reason why General Motors was in trouble [in 2008] wasn’t because of the UAW, it was because of bad management decisions they made.”