Wentzville UAW Leader unsure if government intervention is needed during strike

USA Today
Photo credit USA Today

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -President Joe Biden hopes to lend a helping hand in the ongoing United Auto Workers strike, but one UAW leader is unsure if government intervention is needed at all.

The United Auto Workers union went on strike against GM, Ford and Stellantis simultaneously for the first time in its 88-year history last week as four-year contracts with all three companies expired. The limited strike is at just three assembly plants so far -- including in Wentzville, Missouri.

Nearly 4,000 workers at the General Motors factory in Wentzville began striking Friday, with many workers standing and picketing outside the facility.

The strike has caught the attention of the federal government as President Joe Biden on Friday dispatched two of his top aides to Detroit to help resolve the strike by unionized autoworkers, expressing sympathy for the union and suggested that the Big 3 automakers should share their “record profits.”

However, the need of government intervention has drawn the skepticism of Katie Deatherage, the UAW Local 2250 President in Wentzville.

"I'm not sure they need to be involved," said Deatherage on Total Information A.M. "(UAW) has been able to handle negotiations all the way through without their involvement. I know they have stepped in on the railroad workers and stuff like that, but I feel like between the corporations and our international UAW, they will be able to come to terms without (the government) getting involved."

However, Deatherage still does appreciate the support from the Biden Administration when it comes to supporting the UAW workers in their ongoing standoff.

"We support Biden, we support the Democrats, obviously those labor-friendly candidates that support us," said Deatherage, "We're looking for (Biden's) support through this to help us get our needs met."

It is unknown how long the strike could last. The last strike by United Auto Workers in 2019 against General Motors, lasted around six weeks.

The automobile companies and the union, whose demands include a 36% wage increase, four-day work week with no pay cuts, the return of pension and increased job security, still remain far apart from a deal at the moment.

However, some workers are expecting and prepared for a longer dragged out strike compared to 2019.

"Last time, we were out for two months and we didn't ask for nowhere near what we're asking for this time," said Wentzville worker Chris Rose. "The stuff that they brought to the table shows that they are not willing to bargain with us in good faith for what we're worth."

"It's probably going to be a long one this time."

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