Bay City union member recounts impact of 2007 strike

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BAY CITY (WJRT) - (09/17/19) - The uncertainty that comes with a strike can be a lot to take in for someone who hasn't been through one before.

But for some United Auto Workers union members they've lived through strikes before.

"Being out here with my brothers and sisters, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. You know, we've got to stick together," explained Maurice Jones who works at Bay City Powertrain.

This is Jones' first strike as a UAW Local 362 union member, but his second walk-out during his 12 years with General Motors.

The sticking points feel like deja vu. "Too many temps, not enough benefits," Jones said.

During the 2007 strike Jones worked at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant as a temporary worker. "It's tough, very tough to live that way. You know, you don't know when you go in one day if they're going to let you go," he explained.

The 2007 strike earned Jones, and many others, fulltime work.

He was ultimately able to buy a house and plan for his future.

"Make some better decisions, make some longterm decisions because I was now a permanent employee," Jones said. "And I had a permanent check that I can count on as long as I show up to work day and do my job."

After the strike Jones worked at the Orion Assembly Plant and in Lordstown, Ohio before landing in Bay City. During those stops he survived a plant closure and GM's bankruptcy.

UAW Local 362 members haven't forgotten those tough times.

"They're making billions of dollars, they got concessions from us back during the bankruptcy, not only from us but from the taxpayers," said Pedro Santos, president of UAW Local 362.

The striking workers believe this tough time will pay off too, just like it did for workers like Maurice Jones.

"Hopefully they'll do the same this time," Jones said. "You know, because it's not fair to be a temporary worker for four to five to six years."

UAW Local 362 represents just under 400 people at Bay City Powertrain.

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