United Auto Workers member hit, killed outside General Motors plant in Tennessee

(Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

SPRING HILL, Tenn. — A United Auto Workers member picketing for better wages was hit and killed crossing the street outside a General Motors plant in Tennessee.

UAW International and Columbia Police identified the member as 55-year-old Roy A. McCombs, of Columbia, Tennesee.

Police said McCombs was hit by a vehicle on Nashville Highway at Donald F. Ephlin Parkway near the GM plant’s south entrance. McCombs was an employee of General Motors and was there to participate in strike duty.

Police say McCombs was not actively picketing at the actual moment of the crash and was attempting to cross the road near the picket line. The driver was bringing children to a daycare facility at the GM plant.

“Roy A. McCombs tragically lost his life today on a picket line standing up for a better life for himself and his coworkers. On behalf of the UAW, we offer condolences to Brother McCombs, family, friends and co-workers,” UAW President Gary Jones and UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said in a joint statement. “Today’s accident is heartbreaking for UAW Spring Hill members. We will continue to work to ensure that safety is a priority on the picket line.”

“It is dangerous,” Marques Bello said, “We’re all out here, and it could have happened to any of us.”

Bello wonders if McCombs had been working at the plant, if he’d still be alive.

“If we were out here working, I don’t think that would have happened,” Bello said.

Glen Brewer said it was a somber day as police lights flashed in the distance.

“It’s hard,” Brewer said, “We all have to stick together and just hang in there.”

UAW members have been on strike outside the General Motors plant for weeks. They’re fighting for better wages and benefits.

This week, UAW workers in Spring Hill voted against a proposed contract with GM. Right now votes are being counted from plant workers across the country and the announcement will be made on Friday.

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