For the second day in a row, nearly 50,000 General Motors (GM) workers in the country are on strike to demand wage and labor improvements in the United Auto Workers (UAW) negotiations with the company.
Today, pickets of striking workers gathered in front of 50 GM plants and facilities in 9 states to protest and hinder operations.
In the Texas town of Arlington, where a GM assembly plant employing some 4,500 people is located and where the SUV Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade SUVs are produced, dozens of strikers with banners were placed at the entrances to the facility.
Plant operations ceased in the early hours of Monday after UAW declared a strike, the first since 2007, after two months of negotiations with GM for the signing of a collective contract.
Although negotiations resumed on Monday and will continue today, the UAW declared a strike after GM refused to improve wage conditions and health benefits for union members, even though the company won over $8 billion last year.
In addition, workers want GM to limit the use of temporary employees and cancel plans to close the Lordstown, Ohio, and Hamtramck, Michigan plants by 2020.
The UAW has not indicated how long the strike will last, but GM said it currently has enough vehicles to supply the market for the next 59 days.
What the union has pointed out is that after two months of negotiations the two parties only agree on 2% of the content of the collective bargaining agreement, suggesting that their positions are far apart and that it will take a long time to reach an agreement.
GM has offered $7 billion in investments in the US over the four-year duration of the collective agreement, creating more than 5,400 jobs, as well as wage improvements and higher health care payments.
“Our goal remains to reach an agreement that will produce a stronger future for our employees and the company,” GMT said in a statement Monday after negotiations resumed and the strike began.