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Lawmakers lend support to UAW members on day 5 of strike

Posted: 6:12 PM, Sep 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-20 19:13:15-04
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — As the United Auto Workers strike entered the fifth day, there was still no agreement between the union and General Motors.

Members of UAW Local 31 continued to protest outside the General Motors plant along Fairfax Trafficway in Kansas City, Kansas. On Friday, they were met with about 20 lawmakers from both sides of the state line.

"I'm here to make sure that the workers know that the people that set policies in state government in Missouri have their back," said Missouri State Rep. Mark Ellebracht.

The message from lawmakers was to reassure the workers that they are not alone in this fight.

"We want to take your issues, we want to take your energy and take your strength back to our respective houses in Topeka and Jefferson City and do everything we can to keep you guys working, to keep you guys in our area and, to be honest, to keep General Motors in our community," Missouri State Rep. Barbara Washington said.

The impact of the strike could have a ripple effect in communities, Missouri State Rep. Robert Sauls said.

"It's not just the union workers. It's their communities, it's their towns, the barbershops and the various shops within their communities," Sauls said. "These jobs go, those jobs go."

Friday's visit from lawmakers, along with a visit from Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday, energized the UAW.

"The support is great," UAW Local 31 member Tracy Smith said. "The support is wonderful. It's heartwarming."

With negotiations still ongoing, union member will be outside the GM plant picketing 24 hours a day until some sort of agreement is reached. The union is arguing for better pay, more jobs and affordable health care, among other issues.