KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The General Motors plant in Kansas City, Kansas, has gone idle Wednesday, leaving thousands without work amid the United Auto Workers strike.
The GM Fairfax plant wasn’t called to strike last week, but its workers have still been impacted. About 2,000 UAW members work at the Fairfax plant.
“I don’t understand why you would not want to take care of the people that make the cars and all the millions of dollars that make. It’s because of us, because of the time and hours we put in,” said Brandon Crabtree who works at GM.
GM leaders at the Fairfax plant said it has run out of parts to keep operating and stopped work Wednesday.
The UAW union has members on strike at three factories as it presses Detroit companies to come up with better wage and benefit offers. One of those factories is a GM assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri.
The Wentzville factory supplies critical stampings for Fairfax’s operations, creating a “negative ripple effect,” according to GM.
A spokesman for GM said most UAW workers have already left the KCK plant Wednesday since there is no work available. They’re not expected to return until the situation has resolved.
GM said those workers will not receive company-provided “SUB-pay,” which is sometimes provided during temporary layoffs.
For more than two decades Crabtree has provided for his family working for GM. Now the father of two must figure out what to do next.
“Why not take care of who is making you record profits? That just doesn’t make sense why you wouldn’t,” he said.
General Motors released a statement Wednesday, saying in part:
“We have said repeatedly that nobody wins in a strike, and that effects go well beyond our employees on the plant floor and negatively impact our customers, suppliers and the communities where we do business, such as in greater Kansas City.”
“What happened to our Fairfax team members is a clear and immediate demonstration of that fact. We will continue to bargain in good faith with the union to reach an agreement as quickly as possible.”
The local UAW president told FOX4 over the phone he’s trying to organize his team and develop a plan moving forward.
Contracts between 146,000 auto workers and GM, Ford and Stellantis expired last week.
The union has a list of demands, including 36% pay raises over four years, cost of living raises, and an end to different tiers of wages for workers.
For now, Crabtree said he and his fellow union members aren’t being selfish. He said they’re fighting for what they deserve.
“I’m ready. I’ve been ready ’cause we gave a lot up, and I think it’s time that we got it back. It’s been long enough,” Crabtree said.
UAW President Shawn Fain said earlier this week that more factories could go on strike if the companies don’t make “serious progress” on negotiating a contract.
During what are expected to be segmented strikes at various plants, striking workers would receive $500 a week.
But that strike fund isn’t bottomless, and Fairfax workers won’t receive strike pay while they’re temporarily laid off. It’s not clear at this time if they’ll be eligible for unemployment.