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Striking GM Facility Custodians Hopeful Contract Will be Settled Soon

Custodians don’t want to cross auto worker picket lines

September 27, 2019

Two sets of union workers striking in front of General Motors Co. (GM) facilities nationwide—custodians and automobile assemblers—are hoping their contracts are resolved at the same time, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Both groups of workers are represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union. The approximately 850 UAW-represented janitors, who work for a building service contractor, went on strike Sunday, September 15 at five GM sites in Michigan and Ohio. They have been working on a contract extension since March 2018. The workers, who earn between US$11 and $15.18 an hour, are seeking higher pay and improved health benefits.

The approximately 46,000 autoworkers went on strike one day later—Monday, September 16—after stagnating contract negotiations with the automaker. It was UAW’s first nationwide strike in 12 years.Officials for GM and UAW have been meeting since July to come to an agreement on wages, health care, benefits, profit sharing, and job security for both permanent and temporary workers. The union was also pushing for GM to reconsider the closures of four facilities.

Representatives for GM and the UAW believe it is important to reach a tentative new contract with the custodians’ employer around the same time as reaching one with GM. Otherwise, UAW workers for either side face the possibility of crossing the others’ picket lines.

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