FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - More than 4,000 workers at the General Motors general assembly plant went on strike early Monday morning.
The walkout is part of a nationwide strike of UAW workers at General Motors factories in nine states, including many plants in Indiana and Ohio.
Outside the Fort Wayne plant where they make the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, workers will picket at every gate around the clock until a new deal is reached.
"It's time for America to start taking care of their workers, it's time for workers to stand up for themselves," said UAW Local 2209 bargaining chairman Rich LeTourneau.
LeTourneau said this strike is for more than just autoworkers.
"Factory workers, American workers cut themselves short every single day. American workers are tired of the same things we are. We're fortunate because we have the opportunity to strike to get them," he said.
General Motors said it is offering pay raises, added health benefits and solutions for plants scheduled to close.
But LeTourneau said something needs to be done about temporary workers.
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He said some workers have been on temporary status for about five years.
"There's no certainty, no quality of life for them. There's no job security. They can't go out and buy a house," LeTourneau said.
The UAW sued GM because temp workers were still working in Fort Wayne when the Lordstown, Ohio plant shut down.
"They have to get a job before you can hire temporary workers. That's part of the problem because there's still 700 or 800 of them still on layoff status," said LeTourneau.
The strike comes just four months after GM CEO Mary Barra was at the plant announcing a $24 million investment.
LeTourneau said the commitment from Fort Wayne workers should help negotiations at the national level.
"The investments is a true tell of what this plant has done not only for General Motors but for the community in of itself," he said.
The last time GM workers in Fort Wayne went on strike was for another national strike in 2007. That strike lasted two days.
LeTourneau said they are prepared to strike longer this time.
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