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GM strike: communities worry about "trickle-down" effect

With 3,000 UAW members on strike, communities hope strike will be settled quickly
Posted at 5:47 PM, Sep 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-16 18:42:32-04

LOCKPORT & TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The GM plants in Lockport and Tonawanda are not as large as they once were, but the facilities still provide a substantial economic benefit to WNY.

According to GM, the Tonawanda Engine Plant paid out more than $151 million dollars in paychecks during 2018, the Lockport Components plant paid out $102 million.

Now that the United Auto Workers (UAW) union has gone on strike against GM, host communities are hoping the situation resolves quickly.

"I feel bad that they have gotten to the point where negotiations have broken down," said Lockport Mayor Michelle Roman.

Roman said a prolonged strike would hurt the families, communities and other business that derive income from the GM plant.

"People need to work and make money to continue with their lives," said Gwen Carson, co-owner of Carson's Country Deli and Bakery that is located next to GM Lockport Components.

Carson said she would normally get a lot of business from salesmen, sub-contractors, and others who do business with the plant.

With the Lockport plant down for the strike, Carson wonders if she will see a "trickle-down" effect and a drop in business; "In different times through the years, we have seen a decrease when they cut-back."

After helping GM get through its difficult years, the UAW said it is time for workers to get their "fair share" now that GM is profitable.

"We made concessions for them. They got money from the government. They have been making records profits. There is no reason to close our plants. Open our plants back up and put our members in there," said J.R Baker, UAW Local 774 President in Buffalo.

The major issues in the strike include wages, affordable healthcare, profit sharing, job security, and having a better way for temporary employees to get permanent security.

The last major UAW strike against GM was in 2007. It lasted 17 hours over two days.