October 17, 2019

UAW Leaders Give Initial Approval To Contract, Strike Will Continue Until Members Vote

Article origination IPBS-RJC
UAW members picket outside the GM Fort Wayne Assembly plant Thursday as they wait for word from the UAW National GM Council meeting in Detroit. - Samantha Horton/IPB News

UAW members picket outside the GM Fort Wayne Assembly plant Thursday as they wait for word from the UAW National GM Council meeting in Detroit.

Samantha Horton/IPB News

Thousands of auto workers in Indiana will continue to strike at General Motors facilities while waiting to vote on a tentative contract.

United Auto Workers leadership gave initial approval to the proposed agreement Thursday afternoon.

Curt Longhenry walked the picket line at the GM Fort Wayne Assembly plant on Thursday. He says he wants to see the final details of the tentative agreement, but he’s eager to start working again. 

“There’s a lot of people out here on the picket line that are temporary and they’re struggling,” Longhenry says. “And we want to get back to work. We want to build pickup trucks. We want to build good, quality pickup trucks.”

READ MORE: Communities With GM Facilities Support UAW Members Through Strike

While parts of the proposed contract remain under wraps, a summary released by the union highlights paths for temporary workers to permanent employment and plans to keep a plant in Detroit open to produce an electric truck.

Longhenry has been working at the Fort Wayne Assembly plant for more than three decades. While the facility produces full-size trucks, one of GM’s more popular vehicles, he worries about the car company’s future plans for electric vehicles and how those might affect jobs.

“I understand that General Motors wants to stay ahead of the processing, be the number one in electric,” Longhenry says. “But it is going to take a toll on the workforce and the people-even working here at this plant.”

Local and national UAW leaders met for about six hours before recommending members ratify the agreement. They also chose to continue to walk the picket lines at GM facilities across the country until the full membership approves the deal. That vote is expected to start Saturday and run through the following Friday.

Contact Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.

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