About 80 workers at a General Motors facility in Bolingbrook have continued to stand outside around the clock since the United Auto Workers union went on strike last month.
They joined more than 49,000 of their fellow UAW members around the country who went on strike starting Sept. 16.
Ismael Zuniga, 33, the local UAW president, said his members at GM’s service parts operations facilities are demanding GM have better hiring practices.
Zuniga said workers at GM’s Bolingbrook site ship about 2 million parts every day to car dealerships and small car shops around the Midwest. He added that it was GM’s only facility in Illinois.
But he said the company has stopped hiring employees with full-time compensation and benefits. He said he’s seen several examples of workers being hired on a temporary basis and being let go before being brought back, all in order for GM to not pay them as full-time workers.
“I can’t imagine anyone trying to stay on that job for six years not knowing if they’re going to get a full-time paycheck,” Zuniga said.
GM Executive Vice President for Global Manufacturing Gerald Johnson issued a statement Friday saying, “On Monday, we presented another offer we felt achieved our mutual objectives. It would increase compensation through wages and lump sum payments, preserve industry-leading health care benefits without increasing out-of-pocket costs, enhance profit-sharing with unlimited upside and improve the ratification bonus.”
Johnson added that the company’s offer would “create a clear path to permanent employment.”
Still, Zuniga said he’s appreciated the help from locals and union members from other industries, including postal workers, electricians and transit workers, who joined UAW members as they stand outside in six-hour shifts each day.
Local political candidates have stopped by to show their support, and the DuPage Township Democratic Organization has collected food donations for the workers.
While morale remains high, Zuniga said he continues to hear that talks between the two sides are getting closer to a resolution to end the strike.
“I think there is pressure on both sides to get to a deal,” he said.