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Central Florida UAW workers go on strike, call for fair wages and better benefits

Bernard Stewart, President of Local 1649 leads the strike in Orlando on Friday.
Danielle Prieur
Bernard Stewart, President of Local 1649 leads the strike in Orlando on Friday.

Central Florida United Auto Workers have joined the nationwide strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.

UAW President Shawn Fain called on workers at 38 GM and Stellantis parts distribution centers in 20 states to join the nationwide strike against the companies.

Dozens of Stellantis workers walked out of the factory near Orlando’s executive airport on Friday to join the strike.

Local 1649 President Bernard Stewart is originally from Detroit. He said it feels good to be in solidarity with workers in the Motor City and across the country who are all asking for the same basic things:

“Fair wages, that’s number one, better healthcare, better retirements, we want pensions for the ones that don’t have pensions. I mean there’s like a number of things," said Stewart. "And the company doesn’t want to give on anything so far.”

Tovic A. Powell, the vice president of Local 1649, reiterated the workers strike for themselves, and their coworkers, but most importantly, their families. It's all about:

“Better wages so that we can continue to stay up with inflation and take care of our families," said Powell.

The strike could impact the availability of replacement car parts throughout the country.

General Motors has called the strike unnecessary while Stellantis says union leaders are, “more concerned about pursuing their own political agendas than negotiating in the best interests of our employees.”

A strike continues at Ford Motor Company on Friday in Detroit, Michigan.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
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