TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The clock struck midnight and the strike began.
All across the United States, workers at General Motors (GM) plants have walked off the job.
The strike involves tens of thousands of workers. On Sunday, picket lines began forming in Michigan and Ohio, where hundreds of workers began striking.
What led to the picketing is the lack of a deal on a contract extension. The four-year contract between the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and General Motors expired on Saturday night.
Workers are asking for higher wages, job security and better health care.
Local 774 President J.R. Baker says “It’s for the benefits, it’s for the workers, it’s for the past we’ve fought. It’s for getting respect back, bringing jobs back over here. It’s for the pay and benefits, all the things we strive for as American people.”
GM insists it has given a strong offer to the UAW, but after a deal couldn’t be reached, workers walked off the job Monday morning.
Roughly 3,000 people work at the GM plants in Lockport and Tonawanda.
In the past few years, both plants have seen millions in investments.
GM plans to invest more than $7 billion across the nation, and agreed to add 5,400 new jobs over the contract’s life, but the union says it made concessions when GM received a government bailout in 2008 and now, GM must “step up.”
It’s been 12 years since a work stoppage for GM occurred. The previous one, in 2007, lasted for two days.
Although the strike is ongoing, both sides are still in communication.