Elizabeth Warren joins GM picket line as strike enters day 7

Elizabeth Warren joins GM picket line as strike enters day 7


>>Thompson: TALKS CONTINUE
TODAY IN DETROIT, MICHIGAN,
BETWEEN THE UNITED AUTO WORKERS
AND GENERAL MOTORS ON DAY SEVEN
OF A NATIONAL STRIKE AGAINST THE
AUTOMAKER.
AN ESTIMATED 46,000 WORKERS
WALKED OUT LAST WEEK AFTER G.M.
AND UNION OFFICIALS FAILED
TO COME TO AN AGREEMENT ON A
FOUR YEAR CONTRACT ON ISSUES
INCLUDING WAGES, HEALTHCARE AND
JOB SECURITY.
THE STRIKE IMPACTS MORE THAN 50
GENERAL MOTORS PLANTS
NATIONWIDE, AND THE COMPANY
STANDS TO LOSE HUNDREDS OF
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AS IT
CONTINUES.
WHILE NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE, THE
U.A.W. IS CALLING TODAY
“SOLIDARITY SUNDAY” AND IS
ASKING THE PUBLIC TO JOIN THE
PICKET LINES TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR
THE STRIKING WORKERS.
PHOEBE WALL HOWARD COVERS THE
AUTO INDUSTRY AND LABOR FOR “THE
DETROIT FREE PRESS,” AND SHE
JOINS ME NOW FOR THE LATEST ON
THE STRIKE.
SO I UNDERSTAND THAT DEMOCRATIC
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ELIZABETH
WARREN JOINED THE PICKET LINE
TODAY.
HOW DID HER VISIT GO?
>>WELL, FROM WHAT WE
UNDERSTAND, SHE ACTUALLY MET
WITH LABOR LEADERS PRIOR TO
MEETING WITH MEMBERS, AND WHEN
SHE ARRIVED AT THE PLANT IN
DETROIT, SHE MET PRIMARILY WITH
MEMBERS.
IT WASN’T ABOUT GIVING A SPEECH.
SHE MADE SLIGHT REMARKS, PERHAPS
NOT EVEN TEN MINUTES.
BUT HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE,
HUNDREDS, CAME TO THIS LOCATION,
AND HER REMARKS FOCUSED ON
WHAT SHE SAID HOLDING GENERAL
MOTORS ACCOUNTABLE.
AND BY THAT, MEMBERS SAY, THIS
IS A COMPANY THAT RECEIVED A
BAILOUT DURING THE ECONOMIC
DOWNTURN FROM TAXPAYERS, AND
TODAY IS SEEING RECORD PROFITS
AS EXECUTIVE WAGES CONTINUE TO
GROW.
THE WORKERS SAY, UH, YOU KNOW,
IT MIGHT BE TIME TO REVISIT
THEIR BENEFITS, AND THEIR PAY AS
WELL.
>>Thompson: HOW ARE THEY DOING?
HOW’S MORALE?
>>WHAT’S INTERESTING IS WORKERS
SAY THEY’RE NOT ANGRY.
THEY’RE SAD.
THEY’RE VERY SERIOUS ABOUT
HOLDING OUT IN NEGOTIATIONS.
BUT THIS IS A GROUP OF PEOPLE,
APPROXIMATELY 46,000 VERY, VERY
LOYAL TO THIS COMPANY.
>>Thompson: WHAT ARE THE MAJOR
STICKING POINTS THAT NEED TO BE
RESOLVED?
>>SALARY, OF COURSE AND
BENEFITS.
HEALTHCARE IS PERHAPS THE
BIGGEST ISSUE FOR U.A.W.
MEMBERS, IN THAT THEY WILL SAY
THEY’RE IN A FACTORY
ENVIRONMENT.
THEY HAVE INJURED KNEES, INJURED
ARMS, INJURED NECKS, INJURED
HIPS, AND THEY USE HEALTHCARE
BENEFITS, UNLIKE MANY, MANY
OTHERS.
IN ADDITION, THEY DO NOT WANT TO
PAY A BIGGER CO-PAY, AS MANY
AMERICANS DO TODAY.
PRIMARILY, ANOTHER STICKING
POINT WOULD BE TEMPORARY
WORKERS.
THE DETROIT THREE DEPEND QUITE A
LOT ON TEMPORARY WORKERS.
THEY DO NOT QUALIFY FOR THE
BENEFITS.
THE VACATION, RETIREMENT.
SO YOU MAY HAVE TWO WORKERS SIDE
BY SIDE, EARNING VERY, VERY
DIFFERENT WAGES.
SO, THE COMPANIES SAY THESE
WORKERS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR
HOLDING COSTS DOWN AND BEING
COMPETITIVE WITH THE NON-DETROIT
THREE.
>>Thompson: AND I MEAN, IN A
WAY, THIS BREAKDOWN IN TALKS,
IT’S NOT OVER NEW ISSUES.
I MEAN, IT’S BEEN REALLY YEARS
IN THE MAKING, RIGHT?
>>MEMBERS SAY THAT THEY’VE
WAITED MORE THAN A DECADE FOR
THIS CONVERSATION THAT DURING
THE DOWNTURN THEY REDUCED
BENEFITS, AND THEY MADE DRAMATIC
CHANGES AS A UNION TO ASSIST
GENERAL MOTORS.
THEY POINT TO FORD MOTOR COMPANY
AND SAY THAT FORD DID NOT GO
BANKRUPT AND, IN FACT, HAD MORE
HOURLY WORKERS ON THE PAYROLL.
SO THE G.M. EMPLOYEES WILL SAY,
WAIT A MINUTE, YOU KNOW, WE’VE
TAKEN TAKEN SOME BIG HITS HERE,
AND IT IS TIME TO CIRCLE BACK
AND REVISIT BENEFITS AND PAY.
>>Thompson: MEANWHILE, THERE’S
THIS FEDERAL CORRUPTION PROBE OF
THE UNION THAT’S GOING ON.
HOW IS THAT PLAYING INTO ALL OF
THIS?
>>THE FEDERAL PROBE, CORRUPTION
INDICTMENTS, CONVICTIONS HAS
BEEN DEVASTATING FOR MEMBERS AND
HEARTBREAKING, FRANKLY.
SO, YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO HAVE
GONE TO PRISON.
WE’RE APPROACHING NEARLY A DOZEN
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE AND
CONVICTED AND PLEADED.
WHAT, HOWEVER, WHAT THE MEMBERS
WILL SAY IS THAT THEY COUNT ON
THEIR LOCAL LEADERSHIP.
AND THAT’S WHAT GIVES THEM
CONFIDENCE, THAT LOCAL LEADERS
WILL BE IN CHARGE OF
RATIFYING THIS CONTRACT.
SO ANY QUESTIONS RAISED BY THE
INTERNATIONAL ARE THEN ADDRESSED
BY THE LOCAL LEADERSHIP.
BUT THE INVESTIGATION IS REAL,
THE IMPACT IS SERIOUS, AND THE
MEMBERS SAY THEY REALLY DO FEEL
BETRAYED.
HOWEVER, THEY DON’T SEE AN
ANSWER.
THEY FEEL ORGANIZING IS
ESSENTIAL FOR FAIR AND EQUITABLE
TREATMENT LONG TERM.
>>Thompson: ALL RIGHT, PHOEBE
WALL HOWARD OF “THE DETROIT FREE
PRESS.”
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING
HERE.
>>THANK YOU.

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