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"The UAW takes care of us so it's time to reciprocate," union worker says

Posted: 6:38 PM, Sep 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-16 20:17:24-04
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LANSING, Mich. — Union workers say they are focused on negotiations during this time--Fox 47 talked to some workers who have been out on the picket line since 2 a.m.

"When Ted tells me I don't have to be out here on the corner, then I will not stand out here on the corner. But if Ted tells me I gotta be at this corner then I'm gonna be at this corner," Winston Williams, a Lansing Grand River worker said.

Williams has worked for General Motors for more than 40 years and says picketers are standing with Ted Krum, the head of the Union's Negotiating Committee.

"My leadership has said that I should be here and I have faith in these gentleman," Williams said.

He said workers owe it to the union for decades of standing up for them.

"The UAW takes care of us so it's time to reciprocate," Williams said.

They're sacrificing their paychecks in hope of a better deal--knowing they won't get much in the interim. Their $250-a-week-strike-pay doesn't kick in unless the walkout lasts at least eight days and then there's another seven-day waiting period.

"It's worth it no matter what. It's worth it if I didn't get any money. The future is what I'm talking about," Bob Ashley, Lansing Grand River plant worker said.

Ashley worked at GM's Lordstown, Ohio plant for 25 years and was transferred to Lansing Grand River when his plant stopped production.

"I'm 55 and this is all I ever did. You're always going to back your union brothers and sisters no matter what," Ashley said.

Local 652 said it will keep its doors open after hours to help meet worker's needs.

"We don't want them to be afraid, we don't want to be fearful. If they're not sure of something, we want somebody to be there to help answer questions for them," Randy Freeman, UAW 652 president said.

Some state politicians also made their way out to the picket lines.

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and State Senator Curtis Hertel, a democrat representing Ingham County, were also out on the picket lines Monday, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer brought donuts early Monday morning.

Representative Kara Hope of Ingham County said she was out on the picket lines because she understands their fight.

"I support them 100%. I come from a union family. I have family members who work at GM currently and people who are retirees so I know how important the union is to the middle class," Hope said.

A few union workers are on the job, but they didn't cross the picket line. They were a part of a per-negotiated deal with GM to maintain the machines inside the plants.

A portion of their pay will go to the union.

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