The United Auto Workers have entered their sixth week in the strike against General Motors, and groups are stepping in to support the union.
The sixth week of the strike is in light of the Rochester chapter voting by more than 80 percent to reject a tentative agreement with the company.
“It is subpar; it is not acceptable to our members. There are no work guarantees for Rochester," said local UAW chapter president Dan Maloney. "We are in this fight for six weeks now, and we plan on staying out as long as it takes to make it right for our community.”
Maloney hopes other chapters across the country follow suit, with all national results to be tallied by Friday at 4 p.m.
“This is about more than just one plant or one community; it’s about all of us,” Maloney said.
While chapter members continue to strike, some are starting to feel the pinch.
“I’m a single dad, I’ve got two kids. So our strike money doesn’t always pay the bills,” Joe Muniz of Rochester said.
Muniz was one of the many strikers who attended a United Way food drive earlier Wednesday afternoon, with food provided from the nonprofit Foodlink.
“It’s something little after over a month of this, but it’s nice to have something," Muniz said. "It’s nice to have the support from the community.”
David Scalisi, with the Office and Professional Employees International Union, brought a carload of food with him to UAWs weekly rally.
“We’re a union, and all unions should help fellow sisters and brothers in other unions when they’re hurting,” Scallisi said.
His union insures the Rochester UAW chapter, and they are also waving premiums for members during the duration of the strike.
“The strike pay and unemployment only goes so far, and after six weeks funds get kind of thin in the household, and we’re here to help in any way we can,” Scallisi said.
Muniz says the strike is about security, and the struggle is worth it if it means their factory will be contractually guaranteed to stay open.
“That’s the main thing we wanted in the contract and we didn’t get it," Muniz said. "So, a lot of us are either going to have to see it out and hope we get it, or transfer.”
With the community behind them, Maloney is confident they can take care of their chapter members until the fight is finished.
“We’re all in this…we’re going to make it right for everybody," Maloney said. "And we’re here to stay in one day longer, one day stronger like we always talk about…until we get this job finished, until we get work guarantees for this plant.”