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Thousands of workers at General Motors Co.’s Arlington assembly factory walked off the job Tuesday joining fellow automotive workers in a nationwide strike.
The 5,000 workers left their post at the GM factory in North Texas, which employs more people than any other factory in the U.S., shortly after the company announced its third-quarter earnings to shareholders.
The factory produces SUVs for Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac, which GM noted as particularly profitable in its third-quarter letter to shareholders.
The automaker reported a 7% drop in profits compared to last year but a 5% increase in revenue. A statement from the UAW said GM’s latest offer to the union “fails to reward UAW members for the profits they’ve generated” in comparison to the company’s revenue increase.
"Another record quarter, another record year,” UAW president Shawn Fain said in the statement. “As we've said for months: record profits equal record contracts.”
In its own statement, the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations expressed solidarity with the striking workers, stating that autoworkers’ sacrifices needed to be “fully recognized” by companies.
“Strikes like this are hard,” Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said. “They involve risk. They involve sacrifice. But when UAW workers in Arlington, Carrollton and Roanoke walked off the job, they did so to benefit every worker in this country.”
GM, in a Tuesday statement, said it is disappointed with the escalation of the strike — which now includes more than 45,000 workers in 21 states — and encouraged workers to accept the current deal proposed by the company.
“It is harming our team members who are sacrificing their livelihoods and having negative ripple effects on our dealers, suppliers and the communities that rely on us,” the company said.
GM presented a revised offer to UAW on Oct. 20, which included a 23% gradual increase in wages over a 4.5-year period. GM called the offer the “most significant proposal” GM has ever created for its workers, but the UAW said the offer “lags behind” offers from other companies like Ford, specifically in regard to GM’s 401(k) proposal.
The strikes across the country, including both the 5,000 in Arlington and another 6,800 workers in Michigan who also joined the picket line Monday, have received national attention amid growing support for unions. President Joe Biden expressed support for the UAW in September when he joined a picket line in Michigan, and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president supports the UAW’s move in Arlington.
“The President continues to believe that collective bargaining is incredibly important,” Jean-Pierre said.
Sixty-seven percent of Americans support labor unions according to a recent Gallup poll, and a survey from Morning Consult found over 56% of people support the ongoing UAW strike as well.
Earlier this year, about 200 auto workers in North Texas joined the work stoppage.
Disclosure: Cadillac, Chevrolet and General Motors have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.