Some UAW workers in GM strike arrested, as focus remains on Mexico

The United Auto Workers strike against General Motors stretched into its fourth day on Thursday as negotiations continued, with Mexican manufacturing appearing to still be a sticking point on the union side.

The arrest of seven to nine union protesters at GM's Spring Hill, Tennessee plant on Wednesday also made headlines. Local UAW Chairman Mike Herron said authorities asked the protesters multiple times to get out of the road. Herron believes the protesters were afraid trucks might get into the plant.

He said arrests take the union off its message.

What is the union's message?

Its desire to build up manufacturing jobs in the U.S. versus in Mexico, to start. Anger at GM for allegedly shipping jobs to Mexico is a common refrain among striking workers.

"I would like to see more cars built here in America because it doesn’t just affect us, it affects our communities outside of this plant as well," Moshee Edwards, a UAW picket captain, told FOX Business. "There are so many smaller communities, so many businesses that rely on us."

GM countered that it employs three times as many hourly workers in the U.S. as in Mexico (49,000 versus 16,000) and has invested $23 billion in America over the last 10 years versus $5 billion in Mexico.


The company is the largest auto employer in Mexico, which is now home to assembly plants for brands including Ford and Fiat Chrysler. That fact is something that the UAW side does not seem happy about.

"There's a lot of anger over Chevy Blazer being made in Mexico instead of the U.S.," Morningstar analyst David Whiston told FOX Business, adding that the 2018 decision contrasted sharply with the closing of a GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio in March.

UAW is still holding out even though GM shifted the costs of striking workers' health insurance to the union on Tuesday. UAW blasted the move as a way to "leverage unfair concessions."

Meanwhile, local news reported that the wife of a GM employee woke up from stomach surgery to find she was no longer covered.

"All of a sudden I am risking getting this major hospital bill we honestly couldn't afford," Laura Prater of Tennessee told FOX17 Nashville.

"We had no warning and in fact, I even verified last week before the surgery 'is this still a go?'" she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.