WENTZVILLE, Mo. – Approximately 25,000 autoworkers are heading into their third week on strike. More than 4,000 of those workers are at the Wentzville General Motors Assembly.
“I haven’t been working at GM too long, and I didn’t know what to expect with the strike, and I didn’t think it would last this long,” Daniel Klen said
Klen works on the frame line inside the plant. While he’s worked there for more than a year, he’s still considered a temporary employee. Workers like Klen are one of the reasons the United Auto Workers are pushing back against the Big Three.
“I’ve been a temp over a year and I think what they’re trying to do is make it to where it’s a 90-day thing, which seems a lot more reasonable,” Klen said. “…You never know when you’re going to get converted, and to know, after 90 days, seems reasonable and to know that would be a really good thought.”
UAW members are receiving $500 a week from the union as the strike continues, but Klen said the current economy and inflation are taking a toll on the members.
“I would rather be in there, working and making the paycheck, than standing out here making the $500,” he said.
Hundreds of miles from Wentzville, the UAW and the Big Three automakers are continuing negotiations. GM’s website shows the latest proposal to increase pay up to 20% for higher-tier workers, add more paid time off, and contribute to personal 401k plans, depending on employee wages.
Klen said he wants the opportunity to become a full-time employee and a chance to plan a future with the company.
“I don’t want to be out here doing this, you know? But I want to be under the roof in there, working long-term. It’s something that, you know, there is a future there,” he said.