The ongoing strike led by the United Auto Workers (UAW) has taken a violent turn as the union accuses non-union contractors of resorting to violence against picketers. One incident in Flint, Michigan, this week resulted in five striking workers being hit by a vehicle at a General Motors parts depot, with two of them requiring hospitalization.
In response, UAW President Shawn Fain released a video condemning the violence and asserting that General Motors and Stellantis are “enabling” these acts. Fain called on the public to support the picket lines.
Fain also mentioned incidents at a Stellantis parts depot in Massachusetts, where a UAW member and a Massachusetts state senator were allegedly hit by vehicles. He further highlighted an incident involving non-union truckers pulling guns on UAW members at another Stellantis parts depot in Southern California.
Currently, it is unclear which Massachusetts state senator was involved in the incident. The UAW has not provided the senator’s name upon request.
Patrick Lozeau, the financial secretary for UAW Local 422 in Massachusetts, revealed that a worker named Paul Gato was hurt when a tractor-trailer quickly pulled into a driveway at the aforementioned facility late last week. Gato was thrown several feet backward and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. However, he is now in stable condition.
Since that incident, police coverage at the facility has increased significantly. Initially, only two police officers were assigned to the location during specific hours. However, according to Lozeau, there are now 24/7 police presence with 23 officers supporting the 16 picketers yesterday.
See: UAW could expand strike again on Friday
Stellantis Spokesperson Responds to Accusations amid Strike
Stellantis spokesperson, Jodi Tinson, has responded strongly to accusations made by union worker, Fain, during an ongoing strike. Tinson has accused striking workers of engaging in violent behavior and verbal abuse towards other employees who have crossed the picket line.
In a statement, Tinson expressed deep concern over the incidents occurring on the picket lines, dismissing Fain’s claims in a video as “misleading and inflammatory.” She further explained that since the strike had expanded to the company’s parts distribution centers, there has been a noticeable escalation of dangerous and violent behavior from the union picketers. These actions include slashing truck tires, jumping on vehicles, following individuals home, and even hurling racial slurs at dedicated Stellantis employees who are exercising their right to cross the picket line and continue working.
Tinson, however, has not provided any proof or links to substantiate these allegations.
The UAW, on the other hand, has refrained from commenting on the accusations made by Stellantis. Instead, the union has shared guidelines it had given to striking workers regarding acceptable conduct on the picket lines. This includes promoting peaceful patrols near employee entrances and discouraging any attempts to prevent or block individuals from entering or exiting company facilities.
One Stellantis employee, Lozeau, who has been with the company for 23 years, emphasized the importance of ensuring everyone’s safety during the strike. He expressed that endangering anyone’s well-being is not worth the cause and that he and his fellow union members simply desire a fair contract and a return to work.
As the situation unfolds, it remains crucial for all parties involved to find common ground and seek a resolution.
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