Gov. Walz shows support for UAW members as strike enters second month

Gov. Walz shows support for UAW members as strike enters second month

Gov. Walz shows support for UAW members as strike enters second month

United Auto Workers members have been on strike against the three major U.S. automakers for more than a month and there’s no clear end in sight.

Union members walked the picket line Wednesday at the Stellantis parts distribution center in Plymouth. 81 UAW members at a General Motors facility in Hudson are also on strike.

They’ve been off the job since the end of September when the national strike against Stellantis, Ford and GM expanded.

“I think they have more than enough funds to pay people what they’re asking,” said Alex Tivis, a union member.

UAW is calling for pay raises of 36% over four years, better benefits, and other protections.

“I think that’s more than fair and equitable considering the rate of inflation and how much money we made during the COVID shutdowns,” said Tivis. “We continue to show up to work and make these companies profitable.”

Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan joined the picket line in a show of solidarity.

“All we’re saying is negotiate a full contract,” said Walz. “If you support workers, you support industry.”

According to the union, Ford has offered a wage increase of 23% over four years, while GM and Stellantis have offered a 20% increase. There have still been no agreements, however, and both sides are feeling the pressure.

“A month in, things start to get tight,” said Tivis.

Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford this week called for UAW to reach an agreement with the company.

“Toyota, Honda, Tesla and the others are loving this strike because they know the longer this goes on, the better it is for them,” said Ford. “They will win and all of us will lose.”

Just last week, workers walked off the job at Ford’s most profitable plant, which is in Kentucky. There are now about 34,000 Ford, GM and Stellantis workers on strike.

Emeritus professor of history at Macalester College Peter Rachleff told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he doesn’t expect individual agreements to come one by one.

“I suspect that given the union’s approach that we are probably going to have an agreement with all three or none,” said Rachleff.

He said while the length of the strike isn’t unprecedented, the magnitude continues to be historic.

“They struck all three companies simultaneously,” said Rachleff. “They have this strategy of a plant here and a plant there. […] I think that we’re seeing something new.”