Wisconsin GM Workers Part Of Nationwide Strike

74 Workers At Western Wisconsin Facility Taking Part In UAW Strike

Striking workers outside a General Motors plant
Striking plant workers cheer outside the General Motor assembly plant in Bowling Green, Ky, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers walked off General Motors factory floors or set up picket lines early Monday as contract talks with the company deteriorated into a strike. Bryan Woolston/AP Photo

As talks continue between General Motors and the United Auto Workers, 74 workers at a facility in western Wisconsin are among those taking part in the nationwide strike.

As first reported by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, the members of United Auto Workers Local 722 work at a GM parts distribution center in Hudson.

The center fills orders for parts from GM dealerships in the Midwest. It’s been in Hudson since 2004.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Industry analyst Michelle Krebs of Autotrader, an online marketplace, said Wisconsin would likely have seen a much larger effect from such a strike a decade ago, when GM had an assembly plant in Janesville with thousands of workers.

The Janesville plant shut down more than a decade ago, an example of what Krebs described as a much smaller footprint for the automaker.

“If you look back to the 1980s, it had 40 percent market share. I think even in the ’90s it was at 30 percent market share. It’s now at 17 percent market share,” she said. “It has eliminated products, it’s eliminated plants, it’s eliminated brands.”

That smaller effect is in sharp contrast to Michigan, she said, where the strike is “a big focus. There are concerns that if this continues for any length of time it could push the state into a recession.”

GM and the UAW have been negotiating wages, health insurance costs, the use of temporary workers and new work for GM plants slated for closure.

Nearly 50,000 workers have been on strike this week.

Officials with Local 722 have said they want a deal as quickly as possible, but expect the negotiations could take time because there are multiple issues to resolve.

Steve Frisque, a union steward and former union president, told labor news site In These Times that “our key point is to keep our health insurance at the status quo, or close to it. (And) it’s about getting these temporary employees a path to full-time employment.”