UAW Local 659 chaplain offers support, listening ear during General Motors strike

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FLINT (WJRT) (10/9/2019) - As striking General Motors employees are faced with some difficult hardships, one United Auto Workers member in Flint is doing what he can to boost the spirits of others

Henry Jamerson is working to keep his fellow UAW Local 659 members in good spirits as chaplain of the union during the General Motors strike.

Henry Jamerson is working to boost morale on the picket line because he is the chaplain for UAW Local 659. He's finding that people, especially during the strike, are in need of a little spiritual boost.

"I come by to encourage them," Jamerson said. "We have issues in the shop. Sometimes people are sick or not feeling well I go and visit them, their parents, their families and pray for them -- just to be encouraging and let them know we're the UAW 659 is concerned."

He has been a member of Local 659 for 42 years and has earned a reputation of helping people through difficult times, including the financial uncertainties his fellow union members are facing during the strike.

Relying on $250 a week in strike pay isn't cutting it for many workers, who already were living paycheck to paycheck. But it gives Jamerson pride knowing he can be a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear and a voice of courage and empowerment.

"Go out and just encourage the people just to hang in there, pray for them and when you go out, you find out they have other needs," he said. "They got family problems, children problems. I just found out down there the young lady has to have surgery, so I'll come back and pray for her, just talk, just to encourage, just to build up, just to motivate them and hang in there."

Jamerson said he'll continue his dual roles -- both as a striker until a deal is reached and as a chaplain for as long as he's still working.