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Day 8: UAW picketers now eligible for strike pay

Posted at 5:51 PM, Sep 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-23 20:00:46-04

LANSING, Mich. — UAW workers who are walking the picket line are eligible for strike pay now that their walkout has lasted eight days.

"This is the longest I've ever been out on strike,” said Mark Altvater who has been through four strikes in his 41-years with GM.

Altvater says this time, the strike feels different.

"By far the most overwhelming public and business support that we've ever received. Sometimes we've gotten support may be at the very beginning and then a day or two in all of a sudden the negative comes out. The support just keeps continuing and it's been wonderful," said Altvater.

Roughly 48,000 UAW members remain on the picket lines for an eighth day as negotiators work towards a deal in Detroit.

The vice president of UAW Local 652 says not to believe any rumors about those talks.

"There will be no media leaks, there will be no social media leaks there will be no private reports,” said Ben Frantz. “Our membership will have a roll out that information will be the only opportunity so any information out on the internet social media, anything like that that says that they have the inside scoop, it is wrong. Nobody's privileged."

The walkout is the longest nationwide GM strike since the 1970s. That strike lasted 67 days.
Analysts estimate it's costing GM millions of dollars every day.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, who visited workers on the picket lines Monday, says that's a problem but it isn't time for the federal government to step in.

"Obviously no one wants a long strike and obviously the company and the workers are symbiotic. The people who are out here today really believe in GM as a company. They don't want bad things to come to the company but we've gotta find something that's fair and equitable," said Slotkin.

Bargainers met all weekend and returned to talks Monday morning.

A person familiar with negotiations said they're haggling about wages and profit-sharing new products for factories that GM wants to close along with the use of temporary workers among other things.

Starting this week, people will start to see fewer vehicles on the dealership lots due to the strike.

Workers who walk the picket line get $50 per week day. They won't start getting the money for another week.

Fox 47 will continue to follow updates.

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