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The Picture Show

Why GM Workers Are Striking

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Antonio Martinez has worked for GM for three years and Felicia McCray has worked there for five months.
Elaine Cromie for NPR

Antonio Martinez has worked for GM for three years and Felicia McCray has worked there for five months.

Nearly 50,000 General Motors employees with the United Auto Workers went on strike Sunday morning as the collective bargaining agreement from 2015 expired. The union is calling for the Detroit automaker to properly recognize everything their members have done and sacrificed to make a "healthy, profitable" auto industry.

Last year, GM announced that the Detroit-Hamtramck plant would close in January 2020. This came after the plant was expected to close sometime in 2019. The fate of this plant was originally announced along with the closures of three assembly plants and two other facilities in the U.S. and Canada.

UAW is striking to preserve fair wages, affordable health care, profit sharing and job security, among other things. UAW organizers are assigning six-hour shifts that cover each entrance into the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, and the shifts are running 24 hours a day. This series of portraits will explain why some members took to the picket lines on Day 2 and 3 of the labor dispute.

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Elaine Cromie is an independent visual journalist and documentary photographer based in Detroit.

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