KANSAS CITY, Kan. — More than 2,000 employees in KCK walked off the job and into a picket line Monday.
Members of the United Auto Workers Local 31 at the General Motors Fairfax plant went on strike at midnight Sunday, demanding more money and better benefits.
So did nearly 50,000 other UAW workers around the country at GM’s 30 other factories and 21 other facilities. It’s the largest strike by any union against any business since the last strike at GM in 2007.
The union is seeking higher hourly wages, lump sum payments and a better profit sharing plan. It also wants GM to agree to limit the use of temporary workers and give them a clearer path to permanent employment.
In addition, the UAW says the two sides are far apart on other issues including health care benefits and job security.
General Motors said it made a substantial offer, including higher pay and profit sharing, along with investment to bring new jobs. It said it offered to commit to invest $7 billion in coming years to preserve 5,400 jobs.
The union and GM met in a private meeting Monday, but so far there’s no word on if they’ve reached a negotiation.
Over the weekend, the UAW Local 31 president said they’ve been working below what they should be to help the company get out of the hole.
GM was on the brink of bankruptcy a decade ago and had to be bailed out by the federal government. Employees said they were also part of the solution.
“It’s common knowledge General Motors was in some trouble a few years back,” said Clarence Brown, UAW Local 31 president.
“We gave up a lot to help them get back for they are, and we got to continue that to best help them get the position they are in now. We have not, as far as I’m concerned, received compensation for what we have done pulled them out that gutter.”
The KCK plant makes Cadillac XT4 models and Chevy Malibus.