By Anna Meyer, Bri Buckley
United Auto Workers expanded their strike to 38 more General Motors and Stellantis parts and distribution facilities including one in Northeast Ohio.
During a Facebook Live stream, UAW President Shawn Fain updated strike plans. He announced that 38 more General Motors and Stellantis parts and distribution facilities were being ordered to strike at noon, Friday. The plants are located in 20 states. Workers walked out of Stellantis in Streetsboro just after noon.
Fain went on to say in the live stream that the expanded strike targets only GM and Stellantis because negotiators have made progress at Ford this week.
A picture of Fain on the line with members of Local 1248 (Stellantis) in Center Line, Michigan appeared on the UAW International Union’s Facebook page.
Workers chanted “No pay, no parts!” as they stopped in front of the plants gate.
Picket lines close to home
In Portage County, Stellantis worker Rudy Murray told 3News he has been at the facility for 24 years dating back to its sole ownership under Chrysler, and that today’s walkout was emotional.
“I actually love what I do,” Murray admitted. “I don’t even like to take days off, to be honest. This is the first job I’ve had where I really love what I do, and right now, I wish I was in there doing what I do.”
However, he said he was also proud to stand with his fellow union members.
“You can’t get where you are without us,” he declared. “A lot of them don’t even know what we do. They have no clue what we do, and to come in here and bust our butts eight hours, 10 hours, sometimes 12 hours with the pride and morale that we have for the company, we just want our fair share.”
The 120 workers at the Cleveland Parts Distribution Center said they plan to be out on the picket line for as long as they need.
UAW Local 1005 President Dan Schwartz said Thursday, he and other General Motors employees in Parma were bracing to be called to strike. As of September 22, those 900 union members are still on the job.
Support on the line
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown met with picketing workers in Streetsboro.
Brown said he’s been in touch with the Big 3 leadership, hoping to push negotiations in the right direction.
“What I can do is encourage my colleagues in the Senate and the White House, to talk more about the story, the narrative of what’s lead to this. They didn’t just wake up and say let’s strike,” Brown said.
The UAW’s contract with the automakers expired at midnight on Sept. 14. A total of 12,700 workers walked out of a Ford assembly plant near Detroit, a GM factory in Wentzville, Missouri, and a Jeep plant run by Stellantis in Toledo, Ohio.
The union is seeking 40% increases in hourly pay, a reduced 32-hour workweek, a shift back to traditional pensions, the end of compensation tiers and a restoration of cost-of-living adjustments.
Watch WKYC’s coverage here.