General Motors, UAW reach agreement to end strike

Oct 16, 2019

Despite torrential downpour conditions, striking General Motors workers were in good spirits standing outside of union headquarters on River Road in the Town of Tonawanda Wednesday afternoon with news that GM and the United Auto Workers union has reached a tentative agreement to end the strike.

Striking United Auto Workers
Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

The more-than 49,000 member union has been on strike across the United State since September 16, trying to secure a better contract. That includes workers in Tonawanda and Lockport.

Flanked by poncho wearing members holding umbrellas, Local 774 President JR Baker said it has been a struggle to get to this point.

“We all worked together, endless hours,” he said. “From the kitchen duty to the seargent-at-arms, everything to make this work. I’m excited, as you can see, and I think we all are excited too.”

Local 774 President J.R. Baker
Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

Baker will travel to Detroit Thursday morning to meet with other union leaders to discuss the details of the agreement. The deal needs approval from both the leadership and rank-and-file union members.

Around the corner on Vulcan Street at an entrance to the GM plant, striker Tyler Herman says The City of Good Neighbors has helped them through a financially difficult period.

“Cupcakes. They’re dropping off coffee. They’re dropping off donuts," he said.

In addition, Herman said they have received tents and other materials to keep them dry and warm as the season has changed.

Union Headquarters
Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

Herman said the strike has been toughest on families where the husband and wife both work at the plant and credits FeedMore WNY for providing food from their pantry.

Despite the conflict between labor and management, Herman believes everyone is ready to get back to work.