The picket lines are still up at local General Motors plants, but that could soon change.
The company announced Wednesday it reached a tentative four-year deal with the United Auto Workers union. This comes following a month-long strike that affected 49,000 GM employees, including 3,000 local workers at the Tonawanda and Lockport plants.
“We had to draw the line in the sand and say we’re going to stand, we’re going to march seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day,” said UAW Local 774 president JR Baker. “We got it done, there’s still more to do, and I’m happy where we are right now.”
Contract details have yet to be released, but UAW leaders previously said they were fighting for fair wages, affordable healthcare and job security.
Local workers say they focused on an end goal as a way to keep their spirits up during the long hours. They were getting strike pay of $250 a week – just a fraction of what they usually bring home.
“Our members here, they were bringing their families out to the line just to see how it worked,” Baker said. “Not only that, but we knew what we were walking for – for our families, for fair wages, for a fair contract. And that’s what drove us to this point.”
The next step will be for the union committees to meet in Detroit and agree on a proposal. Once they’ve voted on a deal, the union members will have the final say.
Until then, workers will continue to walk the picket line.