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UAW Local 31 in KCK prepares to come 'off the bench' if needed for auto strike

UAW strike
Posted at 6:41 PM, Sep 18, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Monday marks day four of the United Auto Workers strike against the big three — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.

While the Ford and GM plants in the Kansas City area remain in operation, workers at the GM plant in Wentzville, Missouri, are actively striking, demanding higher wages and better health benefits.

Dontay Wilson oversees UAW Local 31 in Kansas City, Kansas. He said his organization's job is "to be ready, and we absolutely are."

“We just know if our numbers get called, we are coming off the bench and we are ready to play,” he said.

With no end date in sight for the strike, Wilson explained workers hope to reach a fair deal with GM like in 2019.

“Did I think this would happen again? I am not surprised at all,” Wilson said.

While he said the fight won't necessarily be easy, Wilson said workers will still be compensated for taking a stand.

“We have strike duties that are assigned," he said. "That work has already been done, maybe a month prior to this day, and if you do your strike duty, you will receive your strike pay the following week — just like any other job, right."

The strike in Wentzville may eventually affect the Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kansas. A GM representative said Monday production will continue "until we run out of the part supplied by Wentzville."

Nevertheless, Wilson, who has spent 16 years in the auto industry, and other UAW Local 31 members are prepared to hold out for "as long as it takes."