WENTZVILLE, Mo. – Sunday marked the third consecutive day in which autoworkers stood outside the General Motors plant in Wentzville, picketing as a national strike continues for the United Auto Workers union.
Each gate at the GM plant was full of picketers. Union representatives are also busy amid negotiations.
“They’re negotiating, they’re doing a great job for us,” said Katie Deatherage, President of UAW Local 2250. “We’re supporting them down here, holding the line for them, and it’s not just for us. It’s for all UAW.”
She said this strike feels the same as the one in 2019. That one lasted 40 days.
This time around, 13,000 workers linked to the United Autoworkers union nationwide, or less than 10 percent of the UAW’s total hourly workers, have taken a stand against three automaking giants – General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.
Among the union’s demands, a 36% pay raise (down from the original ask of 40%), medical benefits after retirement, and a four-day work week.
“It’s all about compromise. You know you read a lot that our demands are too high, and you start high. It’s like selling a used car. You start high, negotiate in the middle somewhere, and come to a happy medium for all of us,” said Deatherage.
GM’s website shows their offer as of Thursday. It included a 20% raise, a cost of living protection for maximum wage earners, and temporary wages increased to $20 an hour.
Deatherage hopes the union and the big three carmakers can reach and agreement soon.
“Our membership is going to feel it. You know, five hundred dollars a week is less than some of us, but unfortunately for some of our members, they’re taking home the same pay check, and that’s not okay. That’s what we’re fighting for to be on that same pay scale,” said Deatherage.