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Local GM workers join national walkout

Alex Crichton

More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers walked off General Motors factory floors or set up picket lines early Monday as contract talks with the company deteriorated into a strike. 

Workers shut down 33 manufacturing plants in nine states across the U.S., as well as 22 parts distribution warehouses. 

That includes GM facilities in Rochester. There are more than 1,000 GM employees in Rochester, with about 870 of them members of the UAW.

The president of union local 1097 in Rochester is Dan Maloney, and he was among those walking the picket line overnight and early Monday morning.

He says that while workers are on strike, the union does have a strike fund to help them with living expenses.

“It’s not much, it’s just a sustenance, something to put food on the table, it’s not going to make mortgage payments and car payments and college tuition payments, anything like that,” Maloney said.

Credit Alex Crichton / WXXI News

Maloney says the union will stay off the job as long as necessary. He contends that while the union mas made conessions, GM has cut operations , outsource work and reduce the number of jobs.

GM has said that it offered pay raises and $7 billion worth of U.S. factory investments resulting in 54-hundred new positions,. The company also said it offered higher profit sharing, ``nationally leading'' health benefits and an $8,000  payment to each worker upon ratification. 

The Associated Press contributed to this story.">

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.