BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) - More than 900 assembly workers at a
General Motors plant in south-central Kentucky walked off the job
Monday as part of the first nationwide strike against the U.S. auto
industry in decades.
Cindy Shelton, financial officer for United Auto Workers Local
2164, said workers had begun picketing in shifts at the plant.
"We've got the front gate and the back gate," Shelton said.
The UAW has 73,000 members who work for GM at 82 U.S.
facilities, including assembly and parts plants and warehouses.
Workers walked off the job and began picketing outside GM plants
after the late morning UAW strike deadline passed.
The Bowling Green plant employs about 960 workers who produce
Corvettes and Cadillac XLRs.
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said job security was the top
unresolved issue and complained about "one-sided negotiations."
"It was going to be General Motors' way at the expense of the
workers," Gettelfinger said at a news conference in Detroit. "The
company walked right up to the deadline like they really didn't
GM spokesman Dan Flores said the automaker was disappointed in
the union's decision to call a national strike.
"The bargaining involves complex, difficult issues that affect
the job security of our U.S. work force and the long-term viability
of the company," he said. "We remain fully committed to working
with the UAW to develop solutions together to address the
competitive challenges facing GM."
GM had been pushing hard in the negotiations for the health care
trust - known as a Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association, or
VEBA - so it could move $51 billion in unfunded retiree health
costs off its books. GM has nearly 339,000 retirees and surviving
Gettelfinger said that the primary issue was job security, but
he stressed the union also was fighting to preserver workers'
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)