United Auto Workers strike near Martinsburg GM facility

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Dressed in red t-shirts and carrying signs reading “UAW on strike”, General Motors workers stood outside of their Martinsburg workplace.

The UAW Local 1590 workers divided into groups along Hedgesville Road, GM Access Road and Caperton Boulevard Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday was the second day of a nationwide strike, as the United Auto Workers and General Motors look to come to an agreement. Contract talks have resumed after an agreement was not reached on Monday.

Mike McCullough/WV MetroNews
The Martinsburg GM facility.

The most recent GM strike in 2007 only lasted two days. Almost 50,000 workers across the country are off the job after the current contract expired at midnight Sunday.

“Each time the contract comes up, you renegotiate everything,” UAW Local 1590 President Vanessa Banks told The Panhandle News Network. “I don’t think a lot of people understand. It’s not like when a contract comes up you’re just adding extra things to it, you’re trying to secure what you have.”

Banks highlighted better wages, healthcare, profit sharing and job security as the top reasons for the strike.

Also, Banks described an issue with second tier of wages for new workers. Temporary workers are doing the same work as permanent workers for less compensation, she said.

“There’s a lot of support. (The workers) understand it’s not easy going on strike. Especially the ones that are new to the whole union thing…they’re learning. They’re showing a lot of solidarity and I’m really proud of them.”

General Motors released a statement Tuesday morning saying they are working with UAW.

“Negotiations have resumed. Our goal remains to reach an agreement that builds a stronger future for our employees and our business.”

According to General Motors’ website, the Martinsburg center has 112 employees. The 404,000 square foot building’s main purposes are logistics, warehousing and distribution.