Thousands of local GM employees join national strike following failure to reach contract agreement

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(WIVB)–General Motors employees at the Lockport and Tonawanda plant are joining more than 49,000 GM workers nationwide who are on strike.

This comes after GM and the United Auto Workers union failed to reach a contract agreement by today’s midnight deadline ending a four-year deal.

Employees say they want better pay, job security, and affordable healthcare, and UAW leaders unanimously voted to go on strike until their demands are met.

GM’s Executive Vice President Gerald Johnson says the company is happy with the contract they’ve laid out. Officials claim GM offers wage increases and adds more than 5,000 jobs.

As of yesterday, UAW leaders said the two groups are still far apart in their negotiations and it’s not clear when they’ll come back to the table and hammer out an agreement.

President Trump is calling on both GM and UAW to make a deal and local politicians are also voicing their support.

“I really encourage General Motors in Detroit to keep coming to the bargaining table, to reach a quick agreement but to recognize the value of the very high skilled and dedicated workforce they have in Western New York and let’s get them back to work,” Assemblyman Sean Ryan said.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted that he commends GM for their commitment to Western New York but he stands with union workers.

State Senator Tim Kennedy is also urging GM to pay workers a fair wage and resolve these issues as quickly as possible.

Negotiations are happening now in Detroit.

The last time GM employees went on strike was 2007.

We spoke with an expert on the issue, Director of WNY Labor and Environmental Programs for the Workers Institute at Cornell, Arthur Wheaton joined us live in studio:

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