Tennessee law enforcement arrested 11 picketing UAW union members on Wednesday after the protesters blocked entrance to the GM Spring Hill plant in the ongoing GM strike this week. The strikers were reportedly picketing at the south gate of the General Motors Spring Hill plant at the time they were arrested, and charged with obstruction of passage.
“It got serious in a hurry and things got escalated,” said Chairman of UAW Local 1853 Michael Herron. “We have worked all day to make sure everybody is safe and everybody is going what they need to do to protect the workers here.”
The bond for the majority of those arrested for obstruction was set at $500, and most of the strikers arrested have already been released.
The Spring Hill, Tennessee plant is responsible for production of the Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia, as well as various propulsion systems and polymer injection molds. Roughly 3,300 UAW members are on strike at the Spring Hill facility as part of the 50,000 or so UAW members participating in the GM strike around in the country.
Workers were reportedly particularly angry over GM’s decision to drop healthcare benefits for UAW members, with union leaders pointing out that some members are waiting on organ transplants, some are pregnant mothers, and some require chemo treatments.
As we reported previously, further skirmishes between strikers and unaffiliated workers attempting to enter GM plants have been reported.
The GM strike went into effect at midnight Sunday evening after contract negotiations between the UAW and GM broke down. The previous labor contract between the UAW and GM expired Saturday. This is the first company-wide GM strike seen in 12 years.
The latest GM strike is now in its fourth day. Contract negotiations are reportedly progressing, albeit slowly.