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'We were ready': GM workers reflect on expanded strike plan against Big Three

Pressure is on as Shawn Fain announces additional round of strike locations at GM and Stellantis facilities
UAW workers
Posted at 4:58 PM, Sep 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-22 17:24:06-04

YPSILANTI, Mich. (WXYZ) — The General Motors parts facilities in Ypsilanti and Belleville are just two of the now over 40 facilities in the country to join the UAW picket line. Workers walked out at noon on the dot Friday, saying they were ready for Shawn Fain to make the call.

"We’ve been here living paycheck to paycheck. We can’t live like that, not for the next four years," Ypsilanti GM Service Parts Operations Facility Plant Chairman Michael Martin said.

The Ypsilanti plant houses 161 employees who make bumpers, grills and other parts. Every single one of them on every shift walked off the job Friday, saying making a real dent in GM's operations is an aggresive strategy, but one they say is worth it.

“It’s a new day. We've got to try new tactics. We can’t try to do the same things and play the games," Martin said. "We played the game they wanted us to play and we’re here working, getting less pay.”

Cynthia Franklin, a forklift operator at Ypsilanti's GM Service Parts Operations, said: “Oh yeah, I’m ready. Oh, we all ready. We just want our money and what we deserve basically.”

UAW President Shawn Fain announced the additional locations Friday, really ramping up strike efforts.

“If this don’t apply pressure, I don’t know what will," said Martin.

It was a similar scene at the Belleville plant just a few miles away.

Shawanda Walker, a backup chief at Belleville GM Service Parts Operations, picketed in both locations, bringing her family along because she says this is everyone’s fight.

“It’s not just me that I’m striking for. It’s for my family as well," said Walker.

General Motors just recently invested $3 million into this plant, implementing robotic technology. It's a project that Martin says is all on hold now.