FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It has been a week since the General Motors contract expired with the United Autoworkers Union, and Sunday strikers asked people to join them on the picket lines for “Solidarity Sunday” to show support for the workers who have been striking around the clock.
While one worker on the picket line said she is not feeling the physical or mental toll yet, she is already concerned about making ends meet.
“I don’t know as far as money-wise how long I could last or go on but I’m still gonna fight and I’ll still be out here,” said Karimah Weatherbe, who has worked with GM for eight years. So far, she has pulled two picket shifts on her first strike as a GM worker.
Although she sees how it can be hard for people, she says that they have seen a steady stream of support from community, and some have even donated supplies like food and water to the strikers. Those acts of kindness are part of what keep her spirits up as the two parties negotiate a new four year contact.
“I can’t speak for everybody, but for me it makes it easier to see everybody out here doing their part,” said Weatherbe. “It makes you want to come out and stand up for what you believe in and what you support.”
Some allies were more visible in their support of the cause. Anje Boettjer does not work at GM, but said that regardless of profession, union workers stick together.
“I’m with the National Association of Letter Carriers,” said Boettjer. “Part of being a union is solidarity and so when this union is struggling, it’s workers. Workers are workers, it doesn’t matter which union you belong to so showing solidarity is really important.”
The UAW leaders have said that some progress has been made, but so far a deal has not been reached. The workers will receive strike pay of $250 dollars a week should they hit the 15 day mark, but for many workers, that is a drastic cut from their weekly pay.