FLINT (WJRT) (09/17/19) - The UAW members not alone in their strike with General Motors.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), is a union that covers multiple trades in this country, including Local 332 in Flint. In Flint, Teamsters represents everyone from truck drivers to car haulers, mostly all working in and around General Motors properties.
About 600 of those Teamster employees in Flint are standing up with their UAW brothers and sisters.
The UAW and The Teamsters have nearly a century long history of working together so closely that they feel one in the same.
"To better the wages, benefits, and working conditions of our workers. The men and women of this country that actually do the work to make these corporations all the giant cash they're bringing home right now," Mark Barnhart said. Barnhart is a Teamsters Local 232 Business Agent.
The Teamsters contracts are written: when UAW members, or anybody else for that matter, has a primary picket line up, they can refuse to cross.
"They do not have to work behind a primary picket line, and they do not have to move struck goods behind a primary picket line. That protects them to be able to stand up with our brothers and sisters and say, 'No. We're not going in and doing this work,'" Barnhart said.
That could be problematic for General Motors. They own and lease several stockpiles with pickup trucks and auto parts. Without Teamsters to haul and transport, GM will see lower amounts of product on their dealership parking lots. Barnhart says nobody likes to strike, but he says Teamsters workers are in good spirits.
"My phone's ringing off the hook with guys calling, asking what they can do to help, how can they get over to the UAW hall, help walk, whatever they need to do. Guys are stopping by and bringing pizzas to people on the line, waters. It's always been that way in this town. We always help and support each other," Barnhart said.
Barnhart says he hopes the UAW holds on tight and gets what they're asking for.
Until then he says he'll stand in solidarity with them until the end.