Toledo UAW members among first to strike

Posted at 6:14 PM, Sep 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-15 22:49:46-04

TOLEDO, Ohio (WXYZ) — Groups of UAW members rallied outside of the Toledo Assembly Complex which is one of three plants kicking off the union's 'Stand up Strike'.

Honking and cheering, the sound of solidarity, remained steady throughout the day.

The Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator are manufactured at the plant where Sheri Green has worked for 23 years. She said this is her first strike.

“I was scared and nervous last night because I didn’t want to go on strike, but this means a lot to to us. Ya know, we’re not asking for a lot," she told 7 Action News.

While other plants remain in operation, workers at the Toledo Assembly Complex are receiving strike pay at $500 dollars a week.

“Well, I kind of prepared for this. So, I put a bunch of money aside to be able to pay some bills," Green explained.

Some workers tell 7 Action News the reduced pay isn't an immediate concern, while others say it's a burden.

“We’ve all been talking about it 'save your money, save your pennies'. Even joking around when people are eating out. We’re like, ‘You better be prepared the strike is coming'," Green chuckled.

“If the strike doesn’t last too long I’ll be OK. If not, I’ll figure something out," Green added.

When it comes to how long workers think the strike will last 7 Action News found it's a mixed bag.

Before receiving the call to strike, Jackie Rodriguez said, “We were on our seats til the last minute. We didn’t know what to expect.”

She said she's been with Stellantis for four years as a temporary employee. Like others, she's fighting for equal pay for equal work.

David Mezardjian, a 16-year Stellantis employee said, “We have to stand strong which means we might be on strike a while. But we’ve to get it this time."

He added, We’ve got to get more than they’re offering because four years from now when we go to negotiate again, they’re going to see that we have weak spines and will tolerate their conditions. Their proposals.”

James Hunt III, who drives from Detroit to Toledo for work, said the plants 5,800 employees have a chance to set the tone.

“I think that it’s a great thing. We gotta let them know what it is that we want and what it is that we deserve," he said.