United Auto Workers is in the third week of a nationwide strike against General Motors and, in Tennessee, protests continue outside the automaker’s Spring Hill plant.
Demonstrators there have been participating in four-hour shifts. They say they are fighting for something bigger than better wages and benefits.
As of Friday, the latest protest has lasted 19 days — far longer than the last strike in 2007, which lasted just two days. It’s also happening when Tennessee is experiencing record-breaking temperatures.
But that hasn’t stopped union members, like Tim Stannard, from holding signs that read “UAW On Strike” near the entrance of the plant.
“We are in it for the long haul," said Stannard, who is the president of the local that represents Spring Hill employees. "To stand up for what we believe in.”
Gov. Bill Lee said on Thursday his administration continues to monitor the impact of the protests in the state.
"The greatest impact is on the workers themselves. They receive ... strike pay but it's not commensurate to what they would normally receive working," Lee told reporters. "So, the real damage is to the families of the workers. That's why we need to get it resolved."
Stannard said GM needs to stop its practice of hiring temporary workers instead of full employees with benefits. But, more than that — Stanndard says this is about preserving good jobs in manufacturing.
“This country is losing its middle class," he said. "The manufacturing jobs was what the middle class was built on and today that’s not the case.”
UAW and GM have been negotiating since Sept. 14. But it’s unclear when they will reach a resolution.