WENTZVILLE, Mo. – There is relief in Wentzville with the nationwide GM strike finally coming to an end after nearly 40 days.
Approximately 4,500 people work at the GM plant in Wentzville and some of those employees could start working again as soon as Saturday.
Members of the United Auto Workers Local 2250 in Wentzville approved the deal basically by a margin of 64% to 36%.
While some have mixed feelings about the contract, many seem to be ready to get back to work.
Matt Bergman has worked at the Wentzville GM plant for more than four years. He’s happy that the strike is over.
“Living off of just our strike pay and everything else like that. I had bill collectors calling me all the time saying, ‘Hey, when are you going to make a payment?’” Bergman said.
Fellow worker Chris Yates added: “I am happy to be returning back to work. We stand together as a family, as a union.”
Local 2250 President Glenn Kage supports the deal, saying it gives raises and bonuses, including an $11,000 bonus for each UAW worker nationwide.
Kage says the strike ending also means GM’s $1.5 billion investment in the Wentzville plant can move forward. That money will be used for a new paint shop and upgrades to the body shop.
“That’s going to benefit our members and give us a long-term life expectancy for this facility. We were very happy to be told that that was something that we’ve gotten in this contract,” Kage said about the major financial investment.
“We’re looking forward to going back and building the world-class vehicles that General Motors is known for.”
Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione says the GM plant, which produces trucks and vans, is the city’s largest employer. He says the strike being over is important for the area.
“It’s good to see this end because we’re a very close-knit community, we try to take care of each other. And GM’s important to us and so are their employees,” Guccione said.
At Duke’s BBQ Shack in Wentzville, owner Peter Venezia says the strike being over is good for business.
“Bring more people in. It will bring the people who were coming here frequently back again who maybe weren’t as much in the past six weeks,” he said. “I think it will be great for the whole town.”
Governor Mike Parson released a statement praising GM and the UAW for reaching a deal that secures what he calls “a fair contract for workers.”
We’re told Wentzville workers can start coming in Saturday for overtime shifts. Regular production will begin again Sunday night.