United Automobile Workers ratified a new four year contract with General Motors Friday afternoon. Indiana local chapters were split on approving the contract but workers are heading back to work.
Those outside GM Fort Wayne Assembly plant Friday afternoon began cleaning up the picket line as word came down that the contract had been ratified. Some signed each other’s’ picket signs and took photos to commemorate the moment.
Olivia Morgan has been working at the plant for almost 18 years. She says the strike has been hard on her and others, and she’s excited for it to end.
“A couple of weeks ago was really hard for me,” says Morgan. “I really thought, ‘Oh my God, this could go on forever, we’re never gonna end this.’ And to have it come to a close, what that means to me is that we’re heard.”
Morgan says the strike has brought people together from across the plant and she looks forward to seeing those connections continue.
“When they said it was ratified, I thought, ‘the old is gone, the new is here.’ I’m looking forward to more ideas, getting more into it, and just having everybody come up now and see that we’re all equal again; we’re all brothers and sisters again,” says Morgan. “Before it was hard. There was a lot of division in the plant. I’m looking forward to this unity.”
The Fort Wayne UAW Local 2209 narrowly passed the new agreement with just shy of 51 percent of members. Of the other three GM facilities in Indiana, Marion was the only other to have a majority vote in favor of the contract, while Bedford and Kokomo had a majority vote against ratifying the deal.
The UAW says it will now target Ford Motor Company in the next contract negotiation. According to Ford’s website, the company does not have any Indiana operations.