Union solidarity was on display recently when one dozen members of AFM Local 34-627 (Kansas City, MO) joined with members of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 31 to picket outside the General Motors (GM) Kansas City, KS plant. AFM members were there to support their union brothers and sisters—both by their presence and by performing music on the picket line—as auto workers fight for a fair contract.
“My colleagues and I of Local 34-627 support the UAW’s efforts to receive fair pay for fair work and to bring the temporary workers up to permanent worker status,” says Brian Rood of Local 34-627 (Kansas City, MO), who spearheaded the local’s participation in the picketing. “Several years ago, GM hired many temporary workers while in the throes of bankruptcy. Those workers still do not receive sick days, retirement benefits, or seniority and yet are paid almost half the hourly wage of permanent workers. US taxpayers bailed GM out in 2009 and after years of multi-billion-dollar profits GM now has an obligation to raise all workers back up to permanent status and pay them fairly.”
Local 34-627 members joined the picket line on September 27 after meeting with UAW Local 31 President Clarence E. Brown. Brass and percussion players also performed patriotic music and brass ensemble standards such as “Fanfare” from La Peri to “Contrapunctus 9” by J.S. Bach.
The strike began September 15 after UAW and GM negotiators failed to reach agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement for workers. The UAW is fighting for fair wages, affordable healthcare, workers’ share of profits, job security, and a defined path to permanent seniority for temps for its members in nearly 70 facilities in 19 states.