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UAW strike continues, workers sacrifice for better conditions

  • Stellantis made a new offer to UAW, but it doesn't cover pay demands
  • Thousands more workers to join picket lines Friday if deal isn't reached
  • UAW strike is already having an economic impact on local businesses

WAYNE, Mich. (NewsNation) —  Seven days into the United Auto Workers strike against Detroit’s “Big Three,” employees say they are already making sacrifices to stand their ground on the picket lines.

So far, General Motors and Stellantis have laid off a combined 2,000 auto workers since the start of the strike. Stellantis put forward a new contract for the union to consider, but it does not cover the union’s pay demands.

It’s unclear if it will be accepted by the UAW.

But now, many union members on strike are struggling to make ends meet, making budget decisions to save on gas or food.

The spending cuts are now starting to impact local businesses that rely on these union workers to stay afloat.

“Yesterday, I just went out for my first time to do UberEats just to make a little extra money to feed the kids,” UAW member Adam Gallup said. “I do what I have to do to make it happen.”

Gallup has been working at Ford’s Wayne, Michigan, assembly plant for the past three years. He said the sacrifices he has made to take care of his family on a tight budget have only increased now that the autoworkers union is on strike.

However, it’s not uncommon for many of the UAW members to have a “side hustle” to make ends meet, Gallup said.

That’s why the union president, Shawn Fain, is negotiating with the Big Three for a 40% pay raise for workers among a long list of demands.

“We had to cut back on where we drive because gas is really high. And then I have two kids, so we had to cut back on any extra spending,” Gallup said. “We have had to keep everything at home just to cut back on spending because we need to pay the house first and then food and all that stuff afterward.”

And with union workers cutting back on personal spending, small businesses in the metro Detroit area are feeling the impact.

The owner of Detroit’s Royal BBQ Pizza, Julie Cekaj, has been down this road before, saying her restaurant took a financial hit back in 2019 when union workers went on strike against General Motors.

“GM is right across the bridge. It’s one of our biggest things in the morning and during the lunch rush. We’re close to them so they come and eat and go. It was a big hit,” Cekaj said.

With talks between the union and the Big Three stalled, Gallup told NewsNation he is ready to stay on the picket line until Ford’s CEO alongside leaders at General Motors and Stellantis come to the table and reach an agreement with the union.

“Kids come first, family comes first and hopefully Jim Farley does the right thing,” Gallup said. “Make it happen for us.”

Friday marks the deadline for the Big Three to reach an agreement with the union. If they’re not able to reach a deal before noon, Fain says he’s prepared to expand the strike, adding to the almost 13,000 workers already participating in the work stoppage.

Fain is expected to give an update on where the talks stand at 10 a.m. ET Friday on Facebook Live.


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