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UAW President in Bowling Green Reacts to GM Pulling Striking Workers' Healthcare

Lisa Autry

General Motors employees in Bowling Green are back on the picket lines for the second day of a nationwide strike. 

The automaker and union are at an impasse over a new contract.  Nearly 50,000 hourly workers are seeking better pay, benefits, and job security.

In a move that surprised local union leaders on Tuesday, GM shifted employee healthcare costs to the UAW.  The union wanted the automaker to cover those costs through the end of the month.

UAW Local 2164 President Jack Bowers says he thinks the decision is "low."

“It’s pretty bad.  I mean, traditionally, they’ve not done that," Bowers told WKU Public Radio. "We’ve got people out there that need insulin. That’s a lot of money for anybody. I think it’s kind of wrong. That’s the nicest word I can think of right now.”  

The 900 hourly workers at the Corvette Assembly plant and at other GM facilities will continue to have some health coverage paid for by the UAW.

"We understand strikes are difficult and disruptive to families," said Dan Flores, Manager of GM Corporate News Relations. "While on strike, some benefits shift to being funded by the union’s strike fund, and in this case hourly employees are eligible for union-paid COBRA so their health care benefits can continue."

Medical and prescription benefits will continue, but other benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing are not covered. 

The UAW says it’s reviewing its legal options regarding GM’s decision.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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