Whitmer, Tlaib, and 2020 Democratic candidates stand with UAW workers on strike


UAW workers and supporters held a candlelight vigil earlier this year after General Motors announced it will close five North American plants, including Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly. - LEE DEVITO
  • Lee DeVito
  • UAW workers and supporters held a candlelight vigil earlier this year after General Motors announced it will close five North American plants, including Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly.

Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden, as well as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, have all shown support for the 48,000 UAW workers who went on strike Sunday night due to failed contract negotiations with General Motors.

The auto workers walked off factory floors across the country on Monday, after contract negotiations failed to materialize by a deadline at midnight — resulting in 33 manufacturing plants in nine states closing, along with 22 parts distribution warehouses. It is the first national strike by the union since a two-day strike in 2007, which cost GM more than $300 million a day.
Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted a message to GM, calling for the company to “end the greed, sit down with the UAW and work out an agreement that treats your workers with the respect and the dignity they deserve.” Sanders, a longtime advocate of working-class Americans, has a goal of increasing union membership twofold should he be elected as president.

Senator Elizabeth Warren also followed suit: “I stand with @UAW as they strike to get what they deserve, and urge GM to come to the table and negotiate in good faith,” she tweeted.

A tweet from former Vice President Joe Biden indicated that “America's workers deserve better.”

Tlaib also tweeted support for the workers prior to the strike.

"As your Congresswoman, I will not back down until you get what you deserve to take care of your families," she tweeted Sunday. "The corporate assault on our communities is real & it won't stop w/n the halls of Congress, but on the streets, w/ us demanding it. Shut it down!"

Outside the Lansing Grand River plant — not far from the Capitol building — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer visited the the UAW members who were picketing on Monday. A spokeswoman reportedly said Whitmer supports working peoples’ right to negotiate for better wages and working conditions, according to The Associated Press.

While GM said in a statement that it had "negotiated in good faith," the union was dissatisfied with What GM proposed in the area of health care, among other issues.

“Going into this bargaining season, our members have been very clear about what they will and will not accept from this contract,” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said at a press conference on Sunday. “We are standing up for fair wages, we are standing up for affordable, quality health care. We are standing up for our share of the profits. We are standing up for job security for our members.”

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