Georgia Autoworkers Begin Striking at Clayton County Warehouse

The national United Auto Workers (UAW) strike has reached Georgia. United Auto Workers at a Stellantis warehouse in Clayton County say “they’re willing to strike for as long as it takes to get their demands met.” A worker at the warehouse, Bryan Truax,  is quoted as saying “he’s happy to sacrifice what would normally be a relaxing Sunday with family to man the picket line outside of Stellantis’ auto parts distribution warehouse in Morrow. “

For people such as Truax, the motivation for the strike transcends dollars. Truax explains the magnitude of the issue underlying the strike. “On Sunday, a lot of times, me and my kids would go bowling or we could be going to the zoo or walking around my neighborhood… I could be at a friend’s house grilling hamburgers, hot dogs. But I’m here fighting for economic justice.”

As an example of the lack of economic justice, Truax asserts despite “working here for 20 years, he still doesn’t have some of the same benefits as his more senior coworkers.” Truax elaborated his case: “I do not have a pension or, you know, any insurance when I leave or any of the other benefits that some of my top-tier people enjoy.”

Another compelling reason for the strike, according to Truax, is the claim that “the company’s wages have not kept up with inflation.” Wages not keeping up with inflation have real life consequences, according to him. “He wants to be able to pay for what his four daughters need at school.” He explained he wants to be able to pay for school expenses for his children, and offered a list of some of those expenses: “If there’s a band trip or there’s a fine arts trip or there’s some art program my daughter wants to do this summer – I want to be able to pay for it.”

A summarized background of the scope of the strike discloses that “On Friday, UAW leadership called for workers at this center in Georgia as well as at 37 other auto parts distribution centers across the country to join the expanding strike with the possibility of expanding it even further if the negotiations don’t go their way.”

UAW leaders of Local 868 in Atlanta say they are preemptively taking steps to prevent “any undermining of the strike.” One leader declared “we’re here now 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” Joseph Bradford, the recording secretary for Local 868, exclaimed: “We don’t need any people crossing our picket lines to go in and do the work that we would usually do.”

As stated by Local 868 Vice President Lesia Vaughn, the time the strikers are investing is viewed not as a burden but as a “small sacrifice for what we believe in.” Truax gives additional context for the strike, asserting “they’re not just doing it for themselves but for the next generation of autoworkers.”

Background discloses that Stellantis is a multinational automotive manufacturing corporation formed from the merger of the Italian–American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and the French PSA Group. The company is headquartered in Amsterdam and as of 2022, is the fourth largest automaker by sales behind ToyotaVolkswagen Group, and Hyundai Motor Group.

D & B Staff

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Episode 121