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Donations needed for striking UAW workers as contract talks remain active

Donations needed for striking UAW workers as contract talks remain active
Donations needed for striking UAW workers as contract talks remain active 02:43
Andres Gutierrez/CBS Detroit

WAYNE, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – Although bargaining teams from the United Auto Workers and the Big Three are actively talking, those close to the discussions said Tuesday they are nowhere near a tentative agreement.

Some are hammering out language, and others are still tackling key economic demands from the union.

Out on the picket line, spirits among members on the picket line remain high, but they are bracing for the elements. 

"The weather is going to play a part. It's cold outside now," said Stacey Jordan, the support service representative for UAW Local 900. "We're prepared is just keeping the momentum up, and that's what we're trying to do."

At any given time, there are 18 burn barrels along the perimeter of the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, keeping picketers warm. 

Keeping them going 24 hours a day is a job in itself.

"Nonstop work just to clean the barrels, keep the areas clean, keep the areas loaded up with wood. It's never-ending. I don't know that we can necessarily say we're prepared. We just keep going," Steve Radinski with UAW Local 900 told CBS News Detroit.

The firewood comes from other locals, other unions, and all over the community.

It's a hot commodity with fall setting in. 

However, that's not all. 

"We knew to prepare, but a lot of people didn't prepare. So we're trying to give as much resources as we can," Jordan said. 

Members of UAW Local 900, which was among the first to go on strike, have received their first check from the union's strike fund.

But there's only so much $500 a week can cover.

Besides the food boxes donated by United Way, items at the makeshift pantry inside Local 900's hall help them get by until the next check. 

"We're constantly replenishing. So what you see on the table can disappear by the end of the day or the middle of the day," said Ebony Kennedy, the community service chair for UAW Local 900.

They need diapers, wipes, pull-ups of all sizes, toiletries, paper towels, toilet tissue, body wash, personal hygiene products, and cough medicine. 

They're accepting those donations at all hours of the day at their hall located at 38200 Michigan Ave., across the street from the assembly plant.

"Don't think that you have to donate in abundance. Don't think that you have to come in here with loads of stuff or cases of diapers. If you bring in one package of diapers, that's helping," Kennedy said.

It's the ongoing support keeping spirits strong.

"The main concern now is when we're going to go back, but we know that we want a good contract. So we're out here for the fight. We're going to fight till it's over," Jordan said. 

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