CSEA members are showing support to United Auto Workers (UAW) members who are striking against General Motors (GM).
Nearly 50,000 UAW members walked off the job in September, including members employed at GM plants in Rochester, Lockport and Tonawanda.
In a show of solidarity, CSEA and several other labor unions recently joined picket lines at all three locations, including on the first day of the strike. In recent weeks, our union is among those who have continued to show support to our UAW brothers and sisters.
“We’re here to support our brothers and sisters in the UAW,” said
CSEA President Mary E. Sullivan, who was among our members who recently joined striking workers on the picket line. “The corporation and the greed is overwhelming, but these [union members]are fighting and standing strong, and we’re standing strong with them. Go union, be strong and congratulations to the UAW for standing up to corporate greed!”
The UAW members are part of a group of General Motors workers at 33 manufacturing plants and 22 parts distribution warehouses nationwide who went on strike. That includes 46,000 auto workers and 3,000 union-represented janitors with Aramark, a concession and facilities management company, who clean five GM plants in Ohio and Michigan.
Workers are upset about GM’s demands for concessions, as well as GM’s closing of plants in Lordstown, Ohio, and Warren, Mich., while the company continues an expansion overseas. They want an end to a “two-tier” wage system put in place after the auto bailout, and a path for temporary workers to become permanent employees. The strike at General Motors is the first since 2007.
Workers and allies were enthusiastic to walk the first day of the picket line, and the mood was jovial and optimistic. At the rally, many UAW members told local media they have been preparing for this day to come and have been saving money and paychecks accordingly.
“We demand fair pay and benefits for the work we perform. We stand united against “race to the bottom” economics and corporate greed,” said UAW Local 1097 President Dan Maloney at the rally. “We will win this fight by coming together in true solidarity to last one day longer, one day stronger.”
Maloney added that every day the production is shut down it impacts tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars. He also noted that in 2009, union workers took a 40 percent pay cut and have been working their way back ever since.
“The people you see picketing outside are responsible for manufacturing carburetors, manifolds, fuel injectors and other components for General Motors vehicles,” Maloney said.
As this edition was going to press, news that a tentative agreement had been reached was announced.
— Ove Overmyer and Nicholas Newcomb