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

Lisa Autry

On Tuesday, nine days into a national strike between General Motors and the United Auto Workers, the effects were being felt in Bowling Green.

About 900 hourly workers 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 Corvette Assembly Plant. He said 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 much I can do about unless I want to pay out of pocket," Goralsky explained.

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

The nine-day strike is beginning to have a trickle down effect by not only impacting household budgets but furloughing thousands who work for auto suppliers.