UAW members on the picket line at GM’s Detroit Hamtramck Assembly plant said they have a “strengthened resolve” following Sunday’s update on negotiations hitting a snag.
John Hatline, a 35-year skilled trades training representative at the plant, said news of the rejected proposal was motivating despite financial hardship caused by the strike.
“I think it only strengthened the resolve of everyone out here on the line,” said Hatline, 64. “We’re gonna be here until it’s over. We’re going to last one more day than General Motors does.”
Members’ goals of “a fair contract with fair wages and affordable healthcare,” Hatline said, must be met in order for the strike to end.
“They better get it settled because the UAW is going to win this,” he said.
UAW members have received grocery donations from fellow local UAW offices, but some are suffering financially because of the strike.
“We’ve gone three weeks without a paycheck,” Hatline said “A lot of our members are worried about putting groceries on the table for their families. A lot are probably even thinking about finding part-time work. It depends on the amount of money they have been able to save.”
Scott Ferguson, 65, a paint repair employee at the plant for 46 years, said he has co-workers struggling to meet car and mortgage payments.
“I’m doing okay,” Ferguson said. “I’ve been saving for a long time, but I had to take money out of savings the other day to pay some bills. At my age I’m mostly fighting for the younger workers. There were guys before me who did the same thing for me.”
The strike, Ferguson said, is “a good hard lesson,” for younger UAW members to “understand the importance of the union.”
“People in my age group know the fight,” he said. “Younger people are starting to see the fight other people had to do before us. This strike is probably going to be longer than any of the ones I have encountered. I think GM wants to play hardball now. But we’re ready. Bring it on.”
Reuters contributed to this report.