MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Memphis workers joined tens of thousands of GM employees walking off the job in protest. At midnight, nearly 50,000 employees nationwide went on strike after United Automobile Workers and GM failed to reach a contract negotiation.
Outside of the Memphis GM Customer Care & Aftersales facility, workers were picketing both entrances Monday morning. The group started the picket at 10:59 p.m. on the dot, the same time the strike went nationwide at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.
Nationwide, UAW GM workers are demanding better wages, affordable healthcare, and job security.
At the Memphis location, they’re responsible for shipping auto parts, UAW representatives said.
Jeffrey Thomas, UAW Local 2406 Vice-President, said they’re the supporting the national organization and said they’re also fighting for part-time workers for job security and benefits for them.
“The union wants temporary workers to come in and have a secured future. We don’t want you to come in and half-paid, half-benefits for more than 90 days. We want less temps. They want more temps,” Thomas said.
Thomas said UAW union members at the facility make up more than half of the employees that work there and they expected their absence from work to have an impact on productivity.
This is the first auto strike with GM since 2007, when one lost the company millions of dollars. UAW strikers weren’t sure how long the protest would last but said they’d be there 24/7 until a deal was reached.
Negotiations between GM and UAW were expected to resume Monday morning.