Local United Auto Workers union monitor strike against Big 3 automakers

The United Auto Workers union kicked off an unprecedented strike Friday against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, which is the first time in its history that it has struck all three of America’s unionized automakers at the same time.

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Nearly 13,000 workers walked out of the auto plants in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio.

Economists said the strike could result in billions of dollars in losses, disruption to the supply chain and other financial consequences.

PAST COVERAGE: What's at stake as 13,000 workers go on strike at major US auto makers

Channel 9′s Ken Lemon spoke with a local UAW representative who said they are watching the situation closely.

Employees at this Freightliner plant in Gastonia are working under an agreement that ends in the spring.

Their pay is about the same as the workers on strike.

Their concerns are about the same, which are better benefits and higher pay.

So the Freightliner workers may feel like what happens to the car makers could happen to them.

Gastonia is hundreds of miles away from the striking workers, but the local UAW feels close to the issues.

Shop Chair Kenny Dellinger said they are so close that he thinks the fight now in the Midwest may be a similar struggle in Gastonia, but hopefully without a strike.

“Kind of gives us a forecast of what it’s going to be like for us,” said Kenny Dellinger, a representative with the UAW.

The strikers are fighting for better pay and the last deal was struck in Gastonia in 2018.

Dellinger said since then the price of everything has skyrocketed.

“Food, clothing, cars, supply, anything you buy has went up astronomically,” Dellinger said. “The people who build the product can’t even go out and buy the product.”

Dellinger said the local union has already met with Freightliner twice to try to strike a deal early, but they couldn’t.

He said truck makers in Gastonia are also fighting for one thing that is not on the priority list of their counterparts.

“One of the biggest things to get is job security,” Dellinger said.

He said they have a deal that once workers have produced a certain number of trucks, Freightliner can start making trucks in Mexico at a cheaper rate.

His union is fighting to make sure Freightliner doesn’t try to move production out of the country.

Dellinger said for now, he is keeping an eye on the current strike, hoping if car companies strike a deal soon to keep production strong, then maybe Freightliner will do the same.

He said Freightliner workers in Gastonia have protested and haven’t had to strike.

He hopes they won’t have to do that.

PAST VIDEO: UAW’s clash with Big 3 automakers shows off a more confrontational union as strike deadline looms