Georgia Mopar auto workers join UAW strike
Morrow, GA – Members of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 868 in Morrow, just south of Atlanta, began picketing on Friday, September 22, as the auto workers strike expanded to more facilities across the country.
The strike began on September 15 at three manufacturing plants in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio and has now expanded to 38 parts distribution centers owned by GM and Stellantis. Members of UAW Local 868 work in a Mopar center, which is the parts distribution division of Stellantis. While only about 120 people work at this location, their impact is massive, as they provide parts to service centers and dealerships across the South.
Workers on the picket line were fired up and ready to fight for a better contract. Many said they want higher wages, a better pension, and an end to pay tiers and forced overtime. Others mentioned unsafe working conditions. Local 868 member Robert Fortner stated, “We work under extreme heat, we need air conditioning. Some of the equipment that we ride is old and it's not up to date like other facilities are.”
Mark Anthony Miller, Jr., the president of Local 868, was providing leadership on the picket line as he helped union members adjust and prepare for the 24/7 strike schedule. He emphasized the need to fight back against corporate greed and exploitation, “The CEOs aren’t doing anything but getting richer, while we’re the ones out here doing the work. They need to invest in their employees the same way the employees have invested in helping them make record profits. They’re taking the money and getting richer. You have the CEOs making 20-plus million dollars. Our building is paid for, so everything coming out of our building is profit. So the company can’t tell us they don’t have money.”
Miller Jr. also remarked on the support they have received from the national union leadership, “We went to Detroit to get strike preparation. This is not something that just came overnight, they talked about this for months.” He later commented on the new UAW leadership and their efforts to put members first, “Shawn Fain is the GOAT.” Shawn Fain was recently elected to his position as president of UAW, having run largely on calling for an end to what he called “company unionism.”
Local 868 member Jeff Prince stated, “I’ve been here for 20 years, and we’ve only had a $3 raise since then and cost of living has gone way up. 20 years ago it was a great job to have. With the prices of cars going up, they’ve made all these billions and billions of dollars and don’t want to give it back to the people that helped them make those billions.”
This Mopar center sits on a quiet road but received a steady flow of truckers and workers honking in support. The workers had only been striking for a few hours and began discussing plans to set up a grill and tents at the entrance to the center.
As the strike expands, many wonder if it will expand further, or even eventually include all UAW auto workers at some or all of the Big 3 companies. From the energy on the picket lines in this expanding strike, it doesn’t appear that the UAW members plan to quit fighting anytime soon.