This story has been updated with new information.
The United Auto Workers strike against General Motors Co. moved into its 10thday and took on an international flavor as GM laid off workers in Canada and dismissed workers in Mexico, who spoke up in sympathy with striking workers in the U.S.
Two-thirds of the 1,100 hourly workers, who make engines destined for the U.S. at GM’s St. Catharines, Ontario facility, were told to stay home Monday, joining the approximately 2,100 workers who stopped work last week after GM halted production at its Oshawa, Ontario plant’s truck and car assembly lines, according to the Financial Post.
Meanwhile, new media in Mexico reported that GM fired five employees for protesting what they described as speed up in GM’s Silao assembly plant that was designed to try and undercut the UAW’s strike in the U.S. The workers also took issue with their union’s failure to file a protest about the speed up. GM, however, denied any Mexican workers had been fired because of strike-related protests. The Silao plant is now at the center of protest in which the union nominally representing the 4,000 workers at the plant has failed to comply with Mexico new labor law.
In the U.S. the negotiations continued with GM and union reporting that there was some progress but none of the main issues, such as the status of temporary workers or shortening the time it takes new employees to reach top pay, had been addressed.
The union demands include what it describes as fair wages, affordable quality health care, a bigger share of GM’s profits, job security and a defined path to permanent seniority for temps.
Union members also maintained the pressure on GM by organizing a picket line in front of GM headquarters in Detroit, which is usually picket free. The picket line also was a sign of the “rank-and-file” activism that has marked the strike so far.
The union’s executive board has tried to channel some of the energy around the strike by keeping the pressure on GM.
“As UAW members continue to strike for a fair contract, communities and elected leaders from across the country have come out to show their support for workers,” the union said on its website.
“From Missouri to Michigan, union halls are overflowing with food, coffee, and every kind of donation imaginable. Union brothers and sisters from different locals are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with members on the picket line,” it added.
Democratic political figures also continue to lend their support to the strike. Senator Bernie Sanders will be joining members on the picket line at Detroit’s Hamtramck Assembly Plant today.