Morale still high in week five of UAW strike

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LANSING, MI (WILX) - We are now in week five of the United Auto Workers strike against General Motors.

As a local union official put it, negotiations are "inching forward."

Some experts think changes made by the union over the weekend, including raising strike pay by $25 a week, are a sign leadership thinks the trike is going to drag on for a lot longer.

"It's not really an indication of whether or not they think the strike's going to go longer or if they're going to need to go get another job," said Steve Delaney, UAW Local 602 Vice President.

The union is also allowing striking workers to get a part time job.

The strike pay increase was set to take effect in January, but leaders voted to push up the timeline.

"When we decided to strike, that was our last resort. We were forced into that situation by General Motors. We will continue this fight," said UAW Vice President Terry Dittes.

Delaney says there has been progress, but some demands have still not been met.

"Key things that we're still looking for are a pathway for the temps to get to seniority which they're still a ways apart on," he said.

Although there's no end in sight five weeks in, union leaders say morale is still high.

"Everybody is really encouraged by the support we're getting from all of the working class, and I think everybody's pretty much like this is a fight for the working class, not just for UAW and GM," said Delaney.

Local union offices will be very busy Tuesday as workers pick up their strike pay checks, but the additional $25 won't show up until next week's check.

Economists estimate General Motors has lost more than $1 billion since the strike began on September 16.

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