Auto union ready for fight in GM strike as day one ends

Monday is day one of the strike by United Auto Workers across the country against General Motors and, after weeks of negotiations, the UAW says they're fighting for their future.

More than 49,000 members of the UAW walked off General Motors factory floors or set up picket lines early Monday as contract talks with the company deteriorated into a strike.

After weeks of negotiations between both sides, the Collective Bargaining Agreement expired Saturday night. 

"It's business on both parts and I'm just out her doing what's necessary on my behalf," said James Terry.

The UAW says it comes down to their future: fair wages, affordable healthcare, profit shares, and job security for temporary workers. They also say they served GM well when it went through bankruptcy and now, the company is in good shape.

"The companies doing well. We expect us to have our share, our fair share," said Simon Dandau.

But GM says the company presented a strong offer to improve wages, benefits, and grow U.S. jobs. The company also said it offered to invest $7 billion and more than 5,400 jobs. 

UAW says that offer was made just two hours before the CBA expired.

"There's no winner - neither the company or the union, Everybody's losing," said Dandau.

As day one ends, people on the picket line are staying optimistic and know that both sides will eventually work out a deal.

"You gotta stay positive, this is gonna work itself out. It always has. There's nothing different. It will work itself out, it just takes time and a little patience and we will be back to work before you know it," said Terry.

Negotations between both sides resumed Monday morning, and they're expected to continue through Tuesday.

UAW has received support from Michigan lawmakers, including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The Democrat visited with UAW strikers in Lansing on Monday.

General Motors has issued a statement: "The offer we presented to the UAW prioritizes employees, communities and builds a stronger future for all. It includes improved wages and health care benefits, over $7B in U.S. investments and 5,400 jobs. Let's come together and secure our shared future."

Contract negotiations revolve around four themes: higher wages, health care access, the idling of four U.S. plants and temporary workers wanting to become permanent. 

Prior to the call for a strike, GM bulked up its stock on trucks and SUVs just in case.

Critical, although nuanced to this specific negotiation dispute is upheaval at the top of the UAW, where several members including the president have been caught in a federal corruption probe.

The scheme was a multi-year plot where hundreds of thousands of dollars were embezzled. It's a fact that's been hard to ignore for many workers.

"This will be my first contract," said UAW-GM Employee Caley Jennings. "I feel like for people that's new here, it should be a better experience than everything is corrupt."

"It's the corruption. I mean this is the over lying story about this year's negotiations," said Auto Analyst, John Mcelroy. 

Auto analysts say the mistrust of UAW top officials could make auto workers a harder sell on a final contract. However, in a faltering auto market, General Motors doesn't have much to gain from upheaval at the top brass.