SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nearly a month into the United Auto Workers strike in Spring Hill, the ripple effect of less pay and less work is now felt across Maury County.
“The past five or six days, just quadruple numbers in everything,” said Dawn Taylor, executive director of The Family Center in Columbia, “Our food is just flying off the shelves, we have empty shelves.”
Taylor said the empty shelves are a direct impact from the UAW strike against General Motors (GM) for better contracts, job security, and labor kept in the U.S.
Stephanie Gulley is a GM employee striking out on the street Thursday. She told News 2 they’re out there for, “fair wages, our share of the profit, a path to make temporary employees permanent, our benefits– to make sure that they’re protected for the years to come.’
It’s been almost four weeks without a full paycheck for strikers, collecting a $250 check from the union each week for volunteering.
The ripple effect now reaching others including companies who supply parts, truck drivers, and even restaurant workers.
“Yesterday, we saw some waiters come in that normally have good tips, but all their regular customers are on strike,” Taylor told News 2, “Some had unemployment, some don’t qualify for unemployment, so they’re finding themselves about to be evicted, can’t feed their families, so they come to us.”
Numbers more than doubling, even quadrupling for assistance at The Family Center and The Well Outreach in Spring Hill.
“In a typical week, we probably serve, probably between 40 to 45 families a week,” said Michael Gerald, the operations manager with The Well Outreach, “Since the strike, we have seen a significant increase, just on Tuesday we had a total of 54 families.”
With negotiations not making much progress, the strike could continue for weeks to come.
“Even after the strike is over, people have to catch up. Thanksgiving is coming around. We do a thanksgiving drive where we collect 600 turkeys, and I feel like the need is going to be more than that,” Taylor said.
“Just find a way to plug in and help. And you know, whether you’re for the strike or not for the strike, none of that matters, these are people that can’t feed their families,” she added.
The pantries are opening their services to anyone affected by the strike.
They’re also asking for help, if you can afford to make a financial or food donation, or even the time to volunteer.