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UAW 211 members join national strike in Defiance, Ohio

Workers stood outside of the General Motors Powertrain plant in Defiance, Ohio holding signs joining in the national strike Tuesday.

Posted: Sep 17, 2019 8:03 PM
Updated: Sep 25, 2019 2:42 PM

DEFIANCE, Ohio. (WFFT) - Doug Rittenhouse is standing outside the Defiance General Motors Powertrain plant not just for him, but for temporary workers who he said have been working for more than three years as temps.

"I'm glad we're finally standing up here in Defiance. When I started, we had 4,500 people. Now we're less than 500 active. We don't have any temporaries any longer. Most of them went to Fort Wayne or Toledo and different plants," Rittenhouse said.

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MORE: FORT WAYNE UAW LOCAL 2209 STRIKING FOR MORE THAN JUST AUTOWORKERS

He says those workers deserve the same opportunity like he and his co-workers.

General Motors said this plant has a little over 600 employees, but still the numbers are way down from its heyday.

"We keep doing everything that's been asked, and work that is granted, it goes somewhere else. We would like to see work come back to Defiance," he added.

RELATED CONTENT: UAW ON STRIKE AGAINST GM 2019 FULL COVERAGE

Rittenhouse was also out here for the strike in 2007 that lasted two days, and said he and many others sacrificed to help the company they work for.

Workers who have been with General Motors since before 2007, earn more than most who were hired after, and the temporary workers are at the bottom of the wage scale at about $15 an hour doing the same job.

"Back through the bankruptcy we did work with GM. We gave up a lot of things through the bankruptcy such as pay increases. We've given them that. We'd like to get something back for what we've given up," Rittenhouse said.

Since the company is making decent profits, he thinks it's fair for the company to give back to its employees.

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