As the latest GM strike drags on its second week, members of the United Auto Workers Local 2164 are applying for strike pay and health care benefits to help offset part of their lost income during the walkout.
According to a report from the Bowling Green Daily News, employees at the General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant are now showing up to the union hall on Plum Springs Loop to fill out the paperwork required to receive $250 weekly pay and health care benefits. It’s estimated that UAW members receive roughly $1,200 per week while on the job.
“This is a first for me,” said UAW Local 2164 President Jack Bowers. “I’ve been with GM for 34 years, and we had one strike that lasted about a week and then the strike that lasted two days.”
This latest GM strike is the longest nationwide UAW walkout since the ‘70s. Roughly 900 Bowling Green hourly workers are participating locally, and around 50,000 workers are participating nationally.
In addition to lost pay, UAW members will also need to contend with lost health care benefits, as GM recently pulled health benefits for members shortly after the GM strike went into effect. It’s estimated that GM pays upwards of $1 billion annually in health care benefits.
GM’s move to pull healthcare benefits for those participating in the GM strike is seen as particularly aggressive.
“That was a strong-arm tactic,” said UAW member Erica Nugent. “The company is trying to force us into an agreement, but we’re standing strong.”
Strikers have seen support from other union members, as well as the greater community. “People have donated pizza for those on the picket line,” said finance secretary for Local 2164, Connie Warren. “We had a food bank already established, and we’ve been able to stock it more because of support from the community.”
The GM Bowling Green plant has exclusively produced the Chevrolet Corvette since 1981, and is slated to ramp up production of the new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 in just a few months’ time. The facility also produced the 6.2L LT4 V8 engine, which was used in the previous C7-generation Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
Source: Bowling Green Daily News