United Auto Workers at General Motor facilities across Indiana continue to walk picket lines. No new contract agreement appears to have been struck yet.
As the national union leadership and automotive company officials negotiate a variety of contract topics including healthcare costs and higher wages, the use of temporary workers continues to be one of the top discussion points.
Earlier this year, UAW officials filed a lawsuit against GM claiming the company kept temporary workers instead of relocating full-time employees laid off when the Lordstown, Ohio, plant closed.
Matthew Norton has been a temp worker at the Fort Wayne Assembly plant for about four years. He says temp conditions are challenging.
“They only give us 24 hours of vacation a year,” says Norton. “We have to schedule it out, we can’t call in. I got sick once with the flu and I was written up for it because I called in.”
Norton says he wants to continue working at the plant but might have to consider other employment options if he continues to work under temp status.
“Sometimes I wonder if I should stay or go, and really how worth it is,” he says.
Pamela Ross has worked at the Fort Wayne plant for nearly 20 years. Standing on the picket line Friday afternoon, she says there are people who misunderstand the labor strike.
“People look at us as we’re greedy, we’re lazy; we’re not,” says Ross. “We work, we work hard in here, every single person. Like my job, I run with a robot. I have to keep up with that robot to get my parts made and down the line to feed my line.”
The strike is now in its third week affecting Indiana plants in Bedford, Kokomo, Marion and one in the Fort Wayne area.