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September 26, 2023

Auto workers on strike across West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia

Credit: DC News Now

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (DC News Now) — Up and down the picket lines along Interstate 81 in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, autoworkers are on strike.

The striking auto workers are clear about what it will take them to get back on the job.

Donnie Baker, a retired UAW worker striking said it’s an economic issue.

“It’s the money,” Baker said. “It takes less people to build electric cars than combustible engines so that’s what they’re doing. They are going to cut jobs. That is what is going to happen to us.”

Pocketbook issues are at the heart of the worker grievances but they also see a downside to their livelihoods from ramped up production of electric vehicles.

Scott Henry is leading the UAW bargaining committee in the negotiations.

“They [our union negotiators] are trying to away with the two-tier wage system, trying to bring defined pensions back and health care for retirees,” he said.

At the Mopar Auto Parts plant in Winchester, Va., Dennis Berger is on the picket lines and said, “it’s crazy.”

“You have got to work a lot of overtime to make ends meet especially when you’re trying to raise a family. It’s tough,” Berger said. “I hear a lot of members are suffering now.”

Hagerstown, Md. is expecting to join 38 other plants on strike this weekend.

Congressman David Trone (D-Md.) from Western Maryland is a staunch ally of the union workforce.

“We have two levels of workers at the the UAW plants. And we stand with the U.A.W,” says “We support them fully, They need to get a way better contract.”