CHICAGO (CBS) -- U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin joined autoworkers on the picket line on Monday outside a GM facility in southwest suburban Bolingbrook.
About 100 workers at that warehouse walked off the job on Friday, along with another 100 employees at a Stellantis facility in Naperville, as the United Auto Workers expanded their strike to 38 GM and Stellantis parts and distribution centers.
Those workers were back on the picket lines on Monday, and Durbin joined them in their calls for better wages, benefits, and safer working conditions.
Workers said they're prepared to be on the picket line every day until they receive a proposal they feel they can work with.
"A lot of our members here, they're treated like second-class citizens. They're on a two-tier system. So they really just want to keep us in this plant working non-stop, and our members are really having trouble making ends meet. So for us, it's good work-life balance, and being able to support our families," said UAW Local 2114 president Richard Wray.
More than 18,000 auto workers are now on strike at Ford, GM, and Stellantis. The strike started on Sept. 15, with about 13,000 workers at three factories – a GM plant in Wentzville, Missouri; a Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan, near Detroit; and a Stellantis factory in Toledo, Ohio, that produces Jeeps.
Friday, UAW President Shawn Fain said while the union has made significant progress in contract talks with Ford, GM, and Stellantis are still essentially rejecting their contract demands, prompting the union to expand its strike to every GM and Stellantis parts and distribution center in the U.S.
"To be clear, we're not done at Ford. We still have serious issues to work through, but we do want to recognize that Ford is showing that they're serious about reaching a deal. At GM and Stellantis, it's a different story," Fain said.
President Joe Biden plans to join the UAW picket line in Michigan on Tuesday.
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