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5 things to know about the United Auto Workers union strike

5 things to know about the United Auto Workers union strike
[Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images]

The United Auto Workers union officially went on strike against General Motors Sunday night. It’s the first work stoppage by autoworkers in the U.S. in 12 years. Here are five things to know:

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1. When and where is the strike?

It’s happening in nine states: Michigan, Ohio, New York, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Indiana, and Kansas. In total there are 31 GM factories and 21 other facilities in those states where workers will be striking. The strike officially began at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night.

2. Why are they striking?

The United Auto Workers 46,000 members are striking because they say that GM has failed to recognize the “contributions and sacrifices that the company’s UAW members have made to create a healthy, profitable, industry” after the financial crash over a decade ago. The workers want fair wages, affordable healthcare, a share of GM’s profits, and job security—something they say GM has not given them.

As UAW vice president Terry Dittes said, “We stood up for General Motors when they needed us most. Now we are standing together in unity and solidarity for our members, their families, and the communities where we work and live.”

3. What has GM offered?

Before talks collapsed, GM offered UAW workers “improved” wages and healthcare benefits as well as $7 billion in U.S. investments and the addition of 5,400 jobs. However, the UAW said these concessions fell short.

4. Many of the Democratic contenders for president have publicly voiced support for the autoworkers

5. How long will the strike last?

No one knows, but both sides are keen to keep negotiating. CNN reports that the United Auto Workers union and General Motors are returning to the bargaining table at 10 a.m. today. The last major strike 12 years ago lasted for only three days, but other strikes have gone on for as long as four months.

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