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Autoworkers at Arlington's GM assembly plant ready to take action, prepared to strike

Autoworkers at Arlington's GM assembly plant ready to strike
Autoworkers at Arlington's GM assembly plant ready to strike 03:42

UPDATE: Detroit's Big Three automakers failed to reach a new labor agreement before their contract with employees represented by the United Auto Workers expired at midnight Thursday, setting off one of the largest strikes to hit the U.S. in years.

The UAW said it was executing a so-called stand up strike strategy in which employees at a small number of Ford, General Motors and Stellantis factories walked off the job. Employees will be paid about $500 a week from UAW's strike fund, which sits at $825 million, according to The Associated Press.

Arlington has a GM plant that employs roughly 5,000 of the 140,000 UAW workers. They're not one of the groups to go on strike immediately, but it could still happen.

United Auto Workers go on strike 01:54

ARLINGTON ( — Here in North Texas, there are thousands of UAW members who work at the General Motors assembly plant in Arlington. 

They say they're ready to walk off the job Thursday night if they don't get better pay and job security. 

The local union fully expects a strike to happen and are prepared to take action.

"This is not just this contract. It's not just about wages," UAW Local 276 President Keith Crowell said. "This is just not one of those, 'OK, give us 3%.' This is about having a job."

Crowell, who represents 5,000 UAW members who work at the General Motors assembly plant in Arlington, is prepared to pay union members who strike $500 a week. 

Currently, GM is offering a 20% wage hike for U.S. autoworkers, including 10% in the first year. "You know, we can look at those numbers and say, 'Yeah, that's great,' but in negotiations it's a lot that goes into those numbers."

Crowell says they're looking for a 46% pay raise over the next four years, a 32-hour work week with 40 hours of pay and an improvement to the employee pension program. 

"I want people to know that union workers are not greedy," he said. "I want them to understand that the union has led the front for fair wages for a long time and we set the standard for the middle class."

In terms of local impact, SMU Cox School of Business Economics Professor Mike Davis says if a strike happens, it would need to drag on for awhile before having a long-term impact on the economy.

"What I really worry about is those people who depend on the car manufacturers, but who aren't UAW employees," Davis said.

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