Growing hope for GM, UAW settlement, but workers could need help a while longer

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The United Auto Workers’ strike isn’t over, but the union and General Motors have come to a tentative agreement that could send workers back to work soon.

It has been a long month for the UAW workers at the General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant. Thousands of people walked off of the job, demanding a bigger share of GM profits, job security and a path to permanent employment for part time workers.

Striking workers left GM salaries behind and are now getting paid $250 a week by the union if they picket 6 hours a week.

Days have turned into weeks, and with resources running low, donations to the UAW Local 31 food pantry are in high demand.

“The union does a good job with their pantry, but they don’t give meat,” said Janice Witt, who runs the Reola Grant Center for Family Life Development.

Witt and other community food pantries are stepping in to fill the gaps of families’ needs.

“On Saturday, we did a family of 10,” Witt said. “They are my brothers and sisters because we are human beings, and if we don’t help each other, there is no help for us.”

Help could be needed for a while longer.

UAW Local 31 President Clarence Brown is on his way to Detroit. He’ll join other union leaders from across the country where top UAW union brass will present the proposed tentative deal Thursday.

Union presidents will then share the details with local workers who will vote to accept or reject it, so the process to get back to work could take weeks.

“Until they’re done striking on that line, I’m going to be digging out food from everywhere that I can,” Witt said.

Although details of the deal are secret for now, it’s expected that raises and bonuses are part of it.

After local union presidents hear what the tentative agreement is, they’ll vote on whether or not workers remain on the picket line or pack it up until the vote.

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