Pickets up at GM facility in Hudson, Wis.


About 90 members of the United Auto Workers are picketing the General Motors Parts Distribution Center in Hudson, Wis., as part of the nationwide strike against GM that began Monday morning.

“It’s about job security, about making sure they make some cars here instead of shipping them in from overseas,” said Dave Pertile, member and former chairman of UAW Local 722.

Members were surprised that a strike began while negotiations were still ongoing, but “apparently things weren’t moving in the right direction,” he noted. “We hope it (the strike) is quick.”

Pickets are up at the distribution center around the clock, he said.

The Hudson facility handles automotive replacement part shipments to more than 500 GM dealerships in seven states, according to a news release issued when the center was built four years ago. It replaced a distribution center that had been located in Edina, Minn. Currently, there are no GM production or warehouse facilities in Minnesota.

Nationwide, about 70,000 workers are on strike against GM.

In announcing the walkout, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger cited “a complete failure by GM to address the reasonable needs and concerns of our members.”

While health care – particularly for union retirees – has been a sticking point in the talks, he said the issue of job security prompted the walkout, which began at 10 a.m. CDT Monday.

In a statement on its website, GM said it was “disappointed” by the strike and would “continue focusing our efforts on reaching an agreement as soon as possible.”

Negotiations with the Big Three automakers began in July and the union designated GM as the lead company and possible strike target. Contracts with Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp. have been extended and workers there remain on the job.

For more information
Listen to audio of UAW President Ron Gettelfinger’s news conference on the UAW website, www.uaw.org