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Donations pour in as UAW members prepare for a longer strike against GM

Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
The union hall for UAW Local 167 in Wyoming.

Inside the union hall for UAW Local 167 in Wyoming, there are cases of bottled water stacked against the wall, bags of chips lined up along the table, and more donations coming in all the time.

“Good luck, keep up the good fight,” one woman says as she drops off more food for the striking workers.

“I’m actually overwhelmed by the support of the community,” says Willie Holmes, President of UAW Local 167. “They have just been stepping up left and right like you would not believe. I mean, every time I blink, here comes another truckload of food. Or just, somebody wants to come in and just donate their time.”

Holmes says he and others in the union have been working long hours to coordinate and collect donations for the striking workers. As he walked through the union hall, workers came in and out, some with their kids, to grab food and head back out to the picket lines. In one corner, two men sat at a table to offer financial advice to workers.

The factory here is part of a GM Components Holdings, a subsidiary of the automaker. The plant’s 800 workers make axles and other parts for GM vehicles. Some of the plant also supplies parts to Toyota. The workers who make Toyota parts are still on the job, according to Holmes.

"I never seen so much support in all my life as this one here," says Mike Mieras, a retired GM worker who says he went through many strikes in his career.

He says the striking workers have not yet missed a pay day, but they will if the strike continues past Friday. After that, workers will collect $250 in strike pay. For many of them, that won’t be enough to cover their bills, according to Holmes.

So union leaders and others in the community are trying to get more support for the workers. And, so far, that support has been pouring in.

“I never seen so much support in all my life as this one here,” says Mike Mieras, a retiree from UAW Local 167 who says he went through many strikes in his career. “It’s really changing the subject in this country, where we hope that everybody else makes a good fair wage no matter whether they’re union or non-union.”

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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