SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) — More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers walked off General Motors factory floors or set up picket lines early Monday as contract talks with the company deteriorated into a strike.
The union’s four-year contract with GM expired on Saturday. After negotiations on a new contract failed, the United Automobile Workers (UAW) announced a nationwide strike starting at midnight.
Union workers in Spring Hill were hesitant to make comments on camera, as they were waiting for direction from their union president.
As of Sunday, workers reported to the plant but will be walking out, leaving their posts unmanned at the strike of midnight.
“This strike is about us, it’s about standing up for fair wages, for affordable quality health care, for our share of profits and for our job security,” said Tedd Krumm, UAW National Bargaining Committee Chairman.
This strike impacts the 48,000 employees with 3,000 of those working at the Spring Hill GM Plant.
“The GM Manufacturing plant is certainly important to Spring Hill because they’re great community partners and they certainly mean a lot to our local economy,” said Jamie Page, Spokesperson with the City of Spring Hill.
Opening in 1990, the GM plant in Spring Hill has no doubt contributed to the city’s growth.
“I remember when they used to turn the lights off, the red lights off at 9 o clock, ain’t like that now,” said James Hughes, resident of Spring Hill.
A city that’s seen growth in not only population but also a tremendous economic impact due to the plant.
“A much more diverse economy now than it did no so long ago,” said Page.
The website for Spring Hill’s UAW Local 1853 is now home to documents of strike directions and information. The last strike in 2007 lasted two day which cost the automaker an estimated 300 million dollars a day.
“Now it has a big impact, we hope they’re able to come to an agreement and work things out,” said Page.
GM released a statement in response to the nationwide strike saying, “We presented a strong offer that improves wages, benefits and grows U.S. jobs in substantive ways and it is disappointing that the UAW leadership has chosen to strike at midnight tonight. We have negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency. Our goal remains to build a strong future for our employees and our business.”
Workers in Spring Hill say they will be striking at four different locations outside of the plant and at the union hall.