North Texas auto workers rally for UAW strike demands

The group gathered at the Chrysler Parts Distribution Center off East Belt Line Road in Carrollton

NBC Universal, Inc.

On day twelve of the auto workers' strike North Texas auto workers organized a caravan and rally, joining forces with those demanding change.

The group gathered at the Chrysler Parts Distribution Center off East Belt Line Road in Carrollton. Organizers told NBC 5 they want to apply pressure for their demands.

In red shirts, with signs and bullhorns, their chants Tuesday night were loud and clear.

Workers for GM, Ford and Stellantis are demanding a 40% pay raise over four years, among other demands, including restoration of traditional pension plans for newer workers, and a 32-hour work week for 40 hours of pay.

Organizer Pauline Mims is the Labor Council UAW representative for Tarrant County and works at the GM plant in Arlington. She's been with the company for more than 20 years and said a lot was sacrificed around the time of the 2008 auto industry bailout. Mims said it’s now time to reap the reward of years of hard work.

“Mortgages have gone up, everything has gone up, and yet our pay has stayed stagnant,” Mims said. “The companies have continued to make money and grow, and yet leave us paycheck-to-paycheck. At one point it was a great job to have, and now currently it's just a job.”

GM, Ford and Stellantis have been responsive throughout the entire process. Each company released recent statements that read in part:

GM said it has presented five record proposals, saying in part, “Our focus is not on politics but continues to be on bargaining in good faith with the UAW leadership to reach an agreement as quickly as possible.”

Ford, in a statement, said they are going to be the ones to “solve this by finding creative solutions to tough issues together at the bargaining table.”

For its part, Stellantis pointed it its track record, saying it has offered wage increases that top 20% and "requires a balanced agreement that fairly rewards its workforce without significantly disadvantaging the company.”

The companies have said they must be able to continue to invest profits in a costly transition from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles.

Economists say the strike has already exceeded $1.6 billion in economic impact.

"In negotiations, you're going to reach a little bit," said J. Carlos Martinez, a professor at Dallas College and economist with Crescent Securities Group, Inc. "So, I would probably say the 32-hour workweek is probably off the table, I would think, resuming the pension for new employees probably off the table. But wage increase and cost of living, I think are on the table."

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