National Strike Between GM, UAW Beginning to Impact Bowling Green Households

Sep 24, 2019

Credit Lisa Autry

The impact of the national strike by United Auto Workers at General Motors plants across the country is starting to hit home in Bowling Green.

Some of the 900 hourly workers at the GM Corvette Assembly Plant in Warren County are walking the picket lines for a second week as the two sides try to reach a new contract. 

John Silver works in the body shop at the plant.  He says the only pay he and other hourly workers are receiving is $250 a week from the union.

“It will pay for your gas back and forth and will buy you a couple of sandwiches, but you ain’t gonna pay your bills with it or your rent," Silver told WKU Public Radio.

The hourly workers on strike don't qualify for unemployment benefits.  GM is also no longer paying for employee health costs, instead shifting the burden to the UAW’s strike fund which offers less generous benefits.  Steve Goralsky is having to put off medical care for his son. 

“He needs dental right now and there’s not much I can do about it unless I want to pay out of pocket," Goralsky said.

The health care coverage paid for by the union’s strike fund doesn’t cover dental, vision, and hearing.  

The strike also threatens to postpone production of the next generation Corvette. More than 60 workers from GM’s shuttered plants were supposed to have reported for work this week in Bowling Green. Before the strike, the local plant was preparing to start a second shift to accommodate production of the C8 Corvette.