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UAW employees in Kokomo are enthusiastic and worried as the strike begins



Kokomo, Indiana – As almost 13,000 individuals across three states walked off the job on Friday, auto workers around the nation are actively pushing for increased compensation and benefits.

At midnight on Friday, the United Auto Workers union strike in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri began. While waiting eagerly for the conclusion of discussions and the threat of a local strike, Kokomo’s autoworkers continue to put in long hours at the office.

“This is our defining moment,” said UAW Local 1166 President David Willis, Sr.

The message is still the same as thousands of Indiana autoworkers observe the strike from a distance.

“It’s time to bring the people up, the middle class, the blue-collar worker, the same ones that built this America,” Willis described.

Around 1,000 Stellantis employees work in Kokomo, and Willis represents them as President of UAW Local 1166. He contends that his employees, like many others around the nation, have not benefited from the expansion of the auto sector during the past ten years.

“They are making record, record profits,” Willis said. “We’re the ones working. All these people in all these plants all over the United States, we’re the ones working to make these profits.”

Willis stated that the same likelihood exists in Indiana and is just a phone call away as thousands line picket fences in Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri.

“Nobody wants this strike,” he said. “Nobody from any corporation wants this strike, but we’re willing to do it. We’re willing to go out on strike to get our fair share. It’s time for us to have our moment and at least be able to live comfortably in these same United States we helped build.”

However, according to business experts from Indiana University, the strike might seriously affect the supply chain.

“There won’t be cars showing up at the dealership,” said Carol Rogers, the director of the Indiana Business Research Center in the IU Kelley School of Business. “Those people aren’t going to have work, they’re not going to make their income. It will eventually hit many of us in different ways.”

The length of the impasse is difficult to forecast, according to Rogers, but the longer it continues, the more severe the implications may be.

“Each day is going to be a hit for other manufacturers,” she said.

According to Rogers, the strike might start a domino effect.

“People are watching the clock,” she said. “Not just the Big Three automakers or UAW watching the clock, there are a lot of nervous people in manufacturing facilities in Indiana today watching this every hour hoping that it will get resolved.”

Willis added that he worries about the local union members he represents every day.

“What happens when we, if we, get that call,” he asked. “What happens to them when they go out on strike?”

Although experts claim that predicting a schedule is difficult, they do suggest that it might take anywhere from a few weeks to six months or longer.




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