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'This is a generational fight': UAW strikes in Wentzville, Missouri

UAW strikes in Wentzville
Posted at 9:01 PM, Sep 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-15 22:01:18-04

WENTZVILLE, Mo. — History is unfolding as the United Auto Workers strike the “Big Three” all at once for the first time.

Katie Eise was just one of countless people lined up Friday to join in the fight for better pay and benefits in Wentzville, Missouri.

“I’m a single mom,” she said. “I have three daughters that need their mom to make a house payment, and pay for food, to help them with everything.”

After failing to reach negotiations, the UAW labor contract with the Detroit Three — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — expired Thursday night, which is when workers started striking.

UAW is asking for a 46% pay raise, a 32-hour work week with 40 hours of pay and traditional pensions for new hires.

UAW is using a different strategy of striking called the “Stand-Up Strike.” It means only specific places will be called on at a given time to strike.

The General Motors site in Wentzville, Missouri, a Stellantis center in Toledo, Ohio, and a Ford assembly location in Wayne, Michigan, are the only three called on so far.

“It’s time for them to be fair and treat us fairly, treat us the way we deserve to be treated,” said Glenn Kage Jr., legislative chair for UAW 2250 in Wentzville. “They would never make the profits they make without the sweat and the labor of the people inside that plant.”

Both Ford and GM have increased offers, but no deals have been made.

“We’re due raises. CEO’s making millions? Why can’t we have some of that?” Wentzville GM employee Felicia Miller said while waiting in line to register to strike.

So while these union workers are striking, others across the country are working.

"This is a generational fight,” Kage said. “We know that we're fighting to honor the people that came before us, we're honoring the brothers and sisters that work side by side with us on the assembly line. But we're also in this fight for the children — the next generation."

Kate Eise said this fight is more than just her own.

“It’s not being selfish to want to make enough money to put your kids through school,” she said. “To want to be able to have a nice home, to be able to buy a car that was built by other union brothers and sisters. I don’t think it’s unfair to ask for that.”